Witnesses working near a blazing wind turbine have told how they were worried the eight tonne blades would collapse on top of them.
Large plumes of smoke and fire could be seen emerging from the 125 metre tall wind turbine at the former Croda factory in Oak Road, in north Hull on Wednesday morning shortly after 7am. The blades could still be turning as the fire took hold. Humberside Fire & Rescue attended the scene.
It is unclear what impact the fire has had on the structural integrity of the huge turbine tower and its eight -tonne blades assembly. Police closed the scene to the public as burning debris started falling onto Oak Road Playing Fields and a nearby industrial site. Croda Chemicals sold their Hull site to Cargill on June 30, and have offered support to those working at the scene. The company has also confirmed there are “no reported injuries” as the fire eventually burned itself out.
A large plume of smoke was seen by members of the public leaving the turbine by at least 7.25am on Wednesday morning. The fire appeared to spread further along as the turbine continued to rotate.
Witness Shaun Casey who works in an industrial estate very close to the turbine told BBC Humberside Radio: “We saw the smouldering just after 7am. We started evacuating just for safety and then the flames started and everyone was evacuated from the site. It was quite horrendous to watch to be honest.
“There was no explosion but the flames got quite intense. We were quite fearful that it was going to drop. We were all evacuated from site and we could see the bits dropping (fibre glass) . All the cars have quite a lot of debris on them. A bit worried that it actually comes off.
“We were very surprised to see it. I was just really fearful it was going to drop and because of what’s next to it, possible explosions.”
Humberside Fire & Rescue Service issued a statement at 7.44am and confirmed a crew was at the scene: “CONTROL – We are receiving multiple calls regarding a fire involving the wind turbine on Oak Road fields between Clough Road and Sutton Fields in Hull. Crews are in attendance.” The fire was successfully put out in the morning by 9am.
A Croda International plc spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we are aware of an incident at the Cargill site in Oak Road, Hull, involving a wind turbine fire at approximately 08.30 today. On 30 June 2022, Croda International Plc completed the sale of the majority of its Performance Technologies and Industrial Chemicals businesses to Cargill, which included the Hull site.
“We have been in contact with Cargill and have offered support. There have been no reported injuries. Croda erected the wind turbine in 2008 and maintained the turbine using third party wind turbine experts.”
A site worker told Hull Live that a drone was seen overhead at about 9am and staff were allowed back on site at 9.15am. “I’m not sure if this has anything to do with it, but the turbine was making a louder noise than usual yesterday,” said the worker. They added that workers were concerned about the possible environmental impact if part of the structure fell, with the River Hull adjacent to it and it was “a blow” to Cargill to happen barely a month since buying the site.
Phil Drew, from the offshore training provider HOTA located nearby, is a former firefighter. He said to the BBC: “The fire has been dealt with, there’s nothing left to burn fortunately. The outside nacelle is there, the blades are still intact. It was relatively big. It was the nacelle that was primarily involved, spreading to the front and it started travelling up the blades.
“These kind of wind turbine fires are very, very rarely fortunately. Because most of them are remote we don’t usually see them. There’s nothing the fire service can really do as there is no direct risk to life. They deal with remnants on the floor to stop it spreading further.”
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