The fire, which broke out at Europe’s largest cheese processing facility last night (September 1), damaged the site’s biomass boiler, which was used to generate energy, a spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
“It hasn’t stopped production, but the biomass boiler is broken,” the spokesman said. “We’ve got alternative sources of energy.
“It wasn’t a big fire and it only went on for a few minutes. We had to call the fire brigade as a precaution. Nobody was injured.”
Although the boiler was now out of action, the spokesman said it was likely it would be repaired rather than replaced.
Boiler out of action
A spokeswoman for Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Crews were called to the site at around 6.30 last night following reports of a fire involving a metal cylinder used to convert wood chips into material for a biomass boiler.
“After dealing with the initial incident, firefighters remained in contact with the site owners and returned to the scene early this morning to assess the situation and identify further action required to resolve the incident.”
Staff were evacuated from another Dairy Crest factory in Somerset in January this year when a shrink wrap machine caught fire.
At the time, the fire service said: “The fire service received a call from a member of staff reporting a fire involving a shrink wrap machine.
“Two fire appliances from Warminster Wiltshire attended. Fire crews confirmed a small fire involving a shrink wrap machine within the first floor machine room of a two story commercial building.”
Meanwhile, international dairy processor Müller Wiseman Dairies came one step closer last month (August) to concluding its acquisition of Dairy Crest’s dairy division.
Lack of competition
The deal was announced in March, but the scale of it and worries about a lack of competition in certain parts of the UK led to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) getting involved.
As a result of the CMA’s concerns, Müller agreed to supply a third-party processor with milk to replace the competition provided by Dairy Crest, which would have been lost as a result of the acquisition.
Müller will buy Dairy Crest’s fresh liquid milk operations, which includes flavoured milk, bulk potted cream, bulk butter and milk powder.
Dairy Crest’s Severnside, Chadwell Heath, Foston and Hanworth facilities would be included in the deal, plus 70 depots.