‘Risk of explosion’ discussed just days before fire
THE chairman of Bosley Parish Council said fears of an explosion at the mill were discussed only on Tuesday night.
Sam Alston, chairman of Bosley Parish Council, said they had discussed concerns over health and safety at the mill at its last meeting.
He said: “Only on Tuesday, our former vice-chairman Stan Swindells, who owns Cheshire Demolition, expressed concerns about the potential for explosion. Three days later and something quite unbelievable has happened.”
No formal action was taken and it is not believed that the matter was raised with the company.
Cheshire East Council has also revealed that it had visited the site just two weeks before the incident following complaints, it has been revealed.
Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East council, said council enforcement officers were on the site two weeks ago to make sure the firm cleared the area after complaints of sawdust.
He said: “We were on site two weeks ago clearing it up and they did well to clear it up.
“We shouldn’t assume anything.
“There are on-going complaints, but when you have this nature of business, close to a community, there will be complaints about dust and noise and pollution which we as a council have been dealing with.
“The police and HSE need to investigate.”
The police are currently conducting a joint investigation with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to establish the cause of the explosion. The site, which made linoleum products out of wood ground down to a powder or flour and is run by Wood Treatment Ltd, was also struck by fires in 2010 and 2012.
It has also been revealed that the firm was served with five improvement notices by the HSE in 2013 and 2014. Four of the notices said they had “failed to ensure that the risk from fire or explosion” from gas tanks on site had been eliminated or reduced.
Following inspections a few months later, all the improvements had been made and the health and safety notices complied with.
Yesterday, in a statement made after the explosion, the owners said they were “committed” to establishing the cause and would co-operate fully with the authorities.
They added: “We feel it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time while investigations are ongoing.”