‘Blaze will not be the end of us’

Photo Ian Robinson'Business as usual...Barbara Parkinson from H Parkinson Haulage Limited who are trading normally after the fire at their depot in Leyland
Photo Ian Robinson'Business as usual...Barbara Parkinson from H Parkinson Haulage Limited who are trading normally after the fire at their depot in Leyland
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Bosses at a Leyland company where a fire sparked the biggest blaze in Lancashire for a decade have spoken for the first time.

The huge industrial fire which broke out on Lancashire Enterprise Business Park last month devastated units occupied by haulage firm H Parkinson.

Barbara Parkinson, company secretary at the family-run firm, which was set up by her father-in-law 56 years ago, said: “It has been a very stressful time for us.

“Luckily no one was injured, but that’s the only good thing to come out of it.

“We had people on site at the time and the fire was spotted quite early and just progressed from there.”

The company employs around 60 people and say they are hoping to avoid any job losses by moving workers to their two other sites - one in Leyland and their headquarters in Walton-le-Dale.

Mrs Parkinson said: “Our staff have been with us for a long time and we are trying to secure their jobs and move them to different sites.

“There shouldn’t be any job losses - that’s what we are aiming for.

“It has hit us very hard. It’s not the nicest thing to happen, with Christmas and everything, but from our point of view we’re business as normal with customers and everything.”

The haulage company’s warehouse on the business park, which they have rented since 2005, was primarily being used to store toilet paper for a customer.

The fire is not believed to be suspicious.

W Bowker’s unit was also completely destroyed in the blaze, which broke out on December 22.

Mrs Parkinson said: “Our trailers that were parked down there were affected but we managed to get about nine fork trucks out.

“We didn’t own the building and it wasn’t our stock, it was our customer’s stock.

“It has been a bad time for customers but thankfully everyone has been very supportive.

“We still don’t know how the fire was caused and it is just speculation at the moment.

“Luckily we have been in business long enough to rally round and get through this as best we can.”

Meanwhile, fire and demolition crews are still trying to secure the massive site, which is roughly the size of three football pitches.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Fire and Rescue said: “The demolition is proceeding at pace and (fire) crews have to be on standby in case it (the demolition) reveals any pockets of fire once they start digging.

“It is a massive site and there is a lot of stuff to go through.

“There is nothing to say it’s anything other than an accident and as to specifically what happened, that has not emerged yet.”