Fire at dry cleaning factory

Daily Echo: Firefighters at Johnsons Apparelmaster at the West Ham Industrial Estate Firefighters at Johnsons Apparelmaster at the West Ham Industrial Estate

CUSTOMERS’ clothes may have gone up in smoke when a Basingstoke dry cleaning factory caught fire today.

Firefighters had to don protective suits after being called to Johnsons Apparelmaster, at West Ham Industrial Estate, in Morse Road, at 10.30am after a blaze broke out in one of the industrial cleaning machines.

Sixteen firefighters, all from nearby Basingstoke fire station, attended the scene, with a number having to put on special gas pipe suits due to the presence of the potential harmful perchloroethylene chemical.

Watch manager John Amos told The Gazette: “The fire itself was not particularly serious, but the problem is that the chemicals that they use in dry cleaning, when combine with fire, produce phosgene gas. That was used as a poison gas in the First World War.”

He added that the dry cleaning unit was dragged outside before the fire was put out, so the gases could safely dissipate. Around 150kg of clothing is thought to have been destroyed by the fire.

Three fire engines as well as an incident command team attended the incident and brought the fire under control by 1.30pm. A full decontamination of the site has also been completed.

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