Com­mu­nity rocked by fac­tory tragedy

Macclesfield Express - - BOSLEY MILL TRAGEDY -

ARURAL com­mu­nity has been left ‘dev­as­tated’ and ‘changed for­ever’ af­ter a se­ries of ex­plo­sions and fires de­stroyed a mill.

Fire­fight­ers have been trawl­ing Wood Flour Mills in Bosley for four em­ploy­ees – Wil­liam Barks, 51, Dorothy Bai­ley, 62, Jason Shin­gler, 38, and Derek Moore, 62 – who were re­ported miss­ing when ex­plo­sions de­stroyed a four-storey build­ing on Fri­day morn­ing.

Spe­cial­ist res­cue teams have re­cov­ered two bod­ies but des­per­ate fam­i­lies of vic­tims have been warned that iden­ti­fy­ing them could take ‘a long time’.

Up to 100 fire­fight­ers bat­tled to get the 1,0000C inferno un­der con­trol.

Am­bu­lance crews as­sessed 35 peo­ple at the scene and four were taken to hos­pi­tal with burns and blast in­juries.

Mum-of-one Clare Thor­ley, 29, from Con­gle­ton, re­mains in the crit­i­cal care unit at Queen El­iz­a­beth hos­pi­tal in Birm­ing- ham in a sta­ble con­di­tion.

A joint probe in­volv­ing po­lice and fire ser­vices and the Health and Safety Ex­ec­u­tive (HSE) has been launched to find the cause of the blasts.

The fac­tory made linoleum prod­ucts from wood ground down to a pow­der or flour.

In a state­ment the own­ers said they were “com­mit­ted” to es­tab­lish­ing the cause and would co-op­er­ate fully with the author­i­ties.

Around 20 homes close to the mill have been evac­u­ated and work is un­der­way to sup­port around 50 staff who worked at the mill.

Mac­cles­field MP David Rut­ley said the dis­as­ter was his ‘dark­est day since be­com­ing an MP’ and de­scribed the af­ter­math as be­ing like ‘a war zone’.

Bosley methodist min­is­ter Rev Pam But­ler said the vil­lage was ‘col­lec­tively trau­ma­tised’ and would ‘never be the same place again’.

Stu­art Thomp­stone, whose fam­ily owned the busi­ness from 1927 un­til 2009, of­fered ‘prayers, thoughts and sup­port’ to those whose lives had been dev­as­tated by the events.

An online fundrais­ing cam­paign has raised around £8,000.

A celebrity char­ity football match is to be or­gan­ised at Mac­cles­field Town’s Moss Rose ground.

Cheshire Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice

l● The dev­as­tated Wood Flour Mills fac­tory in Bosley, fol­low­ing a se­ries of ex­plo­sions. Inset, the fire at its height

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