Workers evacuated after explosion at chemical firm Lubrizol, in Hazelwood
MORE than 300 staff and contractors had to be evacuated from the site of a chemical firm following an explosion.
More than 20 firefighters were called to Lubrizol, in Hazelwood, yesterday at noon. The company carries out research and development work to improve the performance of motor oil.
Workers were left outside the building for more than an hour while crews, including the firm's own firefighters, battled the blaze.
A fire investigation was due to take place last night but the seat of the fire was thought to be in the server room.
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Police officers and paramedics were also called but nobody was reported hurt.
Sam Bradbury, human resources manager at the US-owned firm – based in The Knowle, Nether Lane – said: "Our priority at all times was the safety of the people who were on site at the time.
"There was an explosion and our own fire team started tackling the fire but we called in firefighters from outside to help and they all did a fantastic job. Everyone was safe and was able to return to work by 1.30pm.
"The ambulance crews and police were also in attendance to offer support, but no-one was injured or required treatment from paramedics."
The Derbyshire plant and offices are part of The Lubrizol Corporation, which has a manufacturing presence and technical and sales offices in 27 countries. Worldwide, it employs about 7,000 people.
Managing director Philip Shore said: "This fire was bigger than just a piece of paper burning on a desk, so the fire brigade was called.
"It is too early to be sure but it looks as though the fire was the result of the failure of a piece of machinery. There will now be an investigation into what caused the fire."
A spokesman for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "The information we have been able to gather shows the fire probably started in the server room but, until our investigation is complete, that information will not be known for certain."
"No-one was hurt and workers were later able to get back in the building."