Fire damage reaches £100m

Fire on Lancashire Enterprise Business Park. Picture by Peter Welsh
Fire on Lancashire Enterprise Business Park. Picture by Peter Welsh
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The final cost of the huge fire which gutted warehouses on a Leyland business park could run to £100m, it was revealed today.

Sources close to the investigation believe the cost of the damage and the value of the subsequent insurance pay-outs may reach an eight-figure sum.

Meanwhile, fire chiefs said the cause of the blaze on the Lancashire Business Enterprise Park in Leyland was still unclear.

They believe it will be at least two months before the investigation concludes.

But there is also a possibility the exact cause may never be known.

Fire investigators have still not been able to access the area where the fire started to gather vital evidence.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: “There is still an investigation ongoing and nothing is concluded.

“The part of the building where the fire started is still too damaged to get into.

“Fire investigators are working with other agencies to establish the cause of the fire.

“There is a lot of debris in the building (to examine) before we can build up a picture of what happened that night.”

The spokesman added: “There could be too much evidence destroyed to fully determine what has happened.

“They may be able to make a judgement on what has happened but there may not be enough evidence to say exactly what has happened.”

The fire broke out at the park, off Centurion Way, just before 5.20pm on Thursday December 22 and saw 150 firefighters called to the scene.

Dozens of people came out of their homes and caught the drama on camera.

It took until last week for the fire to be fully extinguished. An H Parkinson Haulage building and a Bowkers storage unit were razed to the ground, along with three other unnamed buildings.

Firefighters said it was the biggest building blaze in Lancashire for a decade. Only moorland fires have required more personnel.

Meanwhile, Lancashire County Council, which owns the site, said gas, electric and water supplies to all buildings had now been reinstated.

The council is working with Bowkers and HPH to look into temporary arrangements.

Stephen Costello, director of property at Lancashire County Council, said: “It is likely to be some time before demolition and site clearance works can begin. The area directly affected by the fire has now been secured with perimeter fencing.”