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Packaging factory blaze

A blaze has destroyed Skymark packaging factory in Leominster, which broke out in the early hours of 17 June forcing 170 people to evacuate their homes.

It is not yet known what caused the fire, which 15 fire crews battled to put out.

Police set up a 400m exclusion zone in the area, closing some local schools and protecting residents from possible explosions at the factory, which houses chemicals on site.

The Environment Agency reported at the time of the fire: Chemicals on site are mixing in the heat of the blaze and causing toxic smoke, which has been drifting over the surrounding area. A number of gas canisters have also exploded.

The Environment Agency Air Quality Monitoring and Assessment unit was deployed to measure the air quality in the area as well as assessing the wind direction and speed.

The director of public health for NHS Herefordshire Council, Dr Akeem Ali reassured residents after the incident that there has been no long-term health risk from the fire.

Luckily, the firm - which manufactures recycled and reclaimed materials for the hygiene and medical and mailing and postal industries-  managed to salvage computers holding vital information concerning stocks. End products held in a building close to the blaze were also preserved.

Skymark has transferred Leominster operations to other sites and a temporary office has been set up in Leominster. Skymark has two sister sites based in Ilkestone and Scunthorpe.

Schools are due to open on 18 June and residents are allowed back in their homes.

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