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