Police say methanol exploded in Peterborough factory

Emergency services remain at the scene of an explosion near Peterborough.

Cambridgeshire police, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue, the East of England Ambulance, were all called to the factory in Old Great North Road in Stibbington following the blast last night.

The scene of the multi-agency operation in Wansford. Photo: Terry Harris

The scene of the multi-agency operation in Wansford. Photo: Terry Harris

The explosion occurred at about 7.40pm, and police said had involved a ‘chemical incident.’

Today (Thursday) a spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said: “We were called at 7.44pm last night (Wednesday) by the ambulance service reporting an industrial accident at a warehouse in Great North Road, Stibbington.

“It is believed this was a methanol explosion. Three people were inside the building at the time of the explosion, no one suffered serious injuries.

“Local residents were advised to stay inside with windows and doors closed.

The scene of the multi-agency operation in Wansford. Photo: Terry Harris

The scene of the multi-agency operation in Wansford. Photo: Terry Harris

“The road was closed from the A1 towards the site, up to the exit passed the train station.

“All three emergency services were in attendance. A scene has been put in place. We are working with our partner agencies to establish the cause of the explosion.”

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “We were called to reports of a fire in Old Great North Road, Stibbington, at 7.39pm yesterday. We sent a number of units including our Hazardous Area Response Team, East Anglian Air Ambulance and an ambulance. One patient was treated at scene however did not required hospital treatment.”

Residents were warned to stay inside, as smoke was seen billowing from a biodiesel plant behind the railway cottages.

The scene of the multi-agency operation in Wansford. Photo: Terry Harris

The scene of the multi-agency operation in Wansford. Photo: Terry Harris

Police, fire and rescue and the Environment Agency and The Health and Safety executive remain at the scene today while investigations take place.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, who are leading the operation, said: “At 7.40pm on Wednesday (28) crews were called to a fire on Old Great North Road in Stibbington, following reports of an explosion.

“Crews from Stanground, Dogsthorpe, the Peterborough Volunteers Fire Brigade, Whittlesey, St Neots and Stamford in Lincolnshire attended the incident.

“Firefighters arrived to find a fire in a factory unit. Wearing breathing apparatus they extinguished the fire using a hose reel and jets.

The scene of the multi-agency operation in Wansford. Photo: Terry Harris

The scene of the multi-agency operation in Wansford. Photo: Terry Harris

“All persons were accounted for.

“The crews remained at the scene until around midnight. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire.”

A police spokesman said there had been no injuries in the incident.

Near-by Nene Valley Railway are running as normal today - and last night offered assistance to emergency crews as they worked.

A spokesman said: “The Nene Valley railway who are currently running their Santa-Steam services are pleased to say that they and their infrastructure are completely unaffected by this.

“Indeed, the railway were pleased to be able to open their facilities to the emergency services to give them what little help they could while they attended the incident

The scene of the multi-agency operation in Wansford. Photo: Terry Harris

The scene of the multi-agency operation in Wansford. Photo: Terry Harris

“The Railway would like to record their thanks to the emergency services for both their swift response to subsequent containment of the issues that arose.”

A spokesman for The Environment Agency said; ““We are working with our partners in the emergency services, and providing specialist support to monitor for and mitigate any environmental impact from this incident.”