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Wincanton Stunned by Major Fire - Ten Fire Engines in Attendance

Thursday 22 September 2011, 11:49
By John Smith

Adams Cheese Store, a smouldering warehouseYesterday should have been just another bright and sunny new day in a normal working week for the people of Wincanton. For the vast majority of us we slept peacefully through the night, and awoke the next morning to go through the usual preparations for a normal working day. For those, like me, who use BBC Somerset as their initial wake-up system, you will have been shocked to wake up to the news that Wincanton has just experienced one of the biggest fires in recent Somerset history.

The Adams Cheese Factory Store has been the site of this major fire. As I typed, the fire was still burning in the centre of the building, and firemen were preparing to demolish a large entrance door to try and access the area that was still blazing. The images with this article tell the story quite starkly.

Firefighters at the scene, while a photogenic Police Officer strikes a convincing pose.Arriving at the scene I spoke to the Sector Commander (from the Castle Cary Fire Station). He confirmed that thankfully there were only four people working in the cheese store and that they were unharmed. My understanding is that the fire may have started because of a fault in an electrical box, but I am sure that this will have to be confirmed by the experts once the fire is extinguished and the wreckage can be fully inspected. Listening to the BBC reports and chatting to the firemen on the scene I understand that there was somewhere between 120 and 140 fire-fighters on the scene throughout the night.

The first crew on the scene at just after midnight was our own Wincanton Fire Crew. This may possibly have been the biggest fire that they have ever attended in the town. I spoke with Butch Arnold at Wincanton Station and he confirmed that they were at the scene from just after midnight until around 4:30am when they were called to attend a road traffic incident. By that time there were fire crews from stations in Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire, such was the seriousness of the blaze.

Spraying water froma craneA Fire Engine in action

Chatting informally to Butch and the lads, even for a few brief moments, was a major eye-opener. They are not full-timers. They are retained fire-fighters. They were enjoying a well-deserved cuppa, whilst two other firemen were refilling their engine with water ready for the next shout. Being prepared is par for the course. They have to be ready at all times.

What is definitely not normal, and maybe we don't realise, is that after working their socks off throughout the night with their fellow fire-fighters, both at the cheese factory, and then at the road traffic incident, they then went off to their normal places of work just like the rest of us.

Now that is what I call dedication to work and to our community. All those fire-fighters deserve our grateful thanks for their bravery and dedication to this very difficult and dangerous job. They are dedicated to preserving and protecting us from the dangers and ravages of fire.

The final two pictures show the black smoke at the site and from Elliscombe Farm, the large plume of white smoke caused by water on the wreckage.

Black smoke rising from the ashesThe view from Elliscombe Farm, Holton


Posts: 1
Reply #1 on : Thu September 22, 2011, 13:44:56
Since writing this article it has been clarified that there were more than four people working in the store on the night of the fire. Thankfully there were no serikous injuries to staff or fire-fighters.

It was also a great relief to here the Chief Executive on radio confirming that this shouldn't affect the day to day running of their business here in Wincanton.

Adams are a major employer in Wincanton and I hope that I speak for all of us when I say that we look forward to seeing the wreckage replaced with a new unit.

If there is anything that WBT can do to assist they only need to contact us and we will do all that we can.

Whilst visiting members on the estate today it was amazing just to look at what remains of the unit. The bulldozers have done their work, and yet, there is still smoke rising from the ashes. A very sobering scene.

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