Second fire at Komatsu Factory in Sunderland caused during works to repair damage from previous fire

Repair work to fix the damaged caused by a fire at a Sunderland factory ignited flames a second time as 60 workers evacuated.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 5:01 pm

Firefighters were called to Komatsu’s manufacturing facility, in West Quay Road, for the second time in less than a month on Tuesday, March 3.

The Japanese manufacturing company says the fire, which broke out shortly before 3.50pm, was caused as crews worked to repair damage from a previous fire – which occurred on February 5 in the factory’s painting unit.

No one was injured in either incident and 60 workers were evacuated.

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Firefighters at the scene of a second fire at the Komatsu factory

Komatsu say the incident in February resulted in the evacuation of the plant to ensure employees’ safety and most were sent home earlier in the day to allow local authorities time to assist with fire containment.

Crews were called 9.11am on Friday, February 5, and remained at the scene for two hours before an investigation was launched to determine the fire’s cause.

The fire is believed to have started accidentally in the paint oven.

On Tuesday afternoon, welding work which was being carried out to repair damage caused in the earlier incident ignited a second fire at the plant.

Smoke and flames were spotted pouring out of one of the factory’s chimney tops where the fire was localised.

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“Thanks to the quick work of our teams and the support of our local authorities, both incidents were handled well and we are happy to report everyone is okay and there were no injuries,” said Kobus Van Der Westhuizen, international HR director for Komatsu Mining.

The company does not expect any impact upon business and planned to reopen as normal this morning (Wednesday, March 3).

Komatsu is a Japanese company which manufactures construction, mining, forestry and military equipment, as well as diesel engines and industrial equipment such as press machines, lasers and thermoelectric generators.

Crews were able to contain the fire and the aerial ladder platform was used to dampen down the area before firefighters left the scene at 6pm on Tuesday.

A Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service spokesman has confirmed the fire was accidental and six appliances attended.

“The first appliance was at the scene from 15:50. The fire was contained to a paint booth and an extraction system chimney,” added the spokesman.

Officers left the scene before 5.30pm.

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