Newchapel Fire & Explosion

4 October 2011, 16:10

Three people remained in hospital today with serious injuries sustained in a massive explosion on an industrial estate near Lingfield, police have said.

Five patients have been discharged following the blast on the Hobbs Industrial Estate in Newchapel, near Lingfield, Surrey, just after 11.20am yesterday.

Up to 60 firefighters from three counties tackled the fire which broke out in a unit believed to belong to  eReco EMEA, a firm which deals with IT and electrical recycling.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud bang followed by stacks of acrid black smoke belching into the sky, prompting the evacuation of around 75 people.

Firefighters were hampered in their efforts to bring the blaze under control due to the presence of liquefied petroleum gas tanks and cylinders and various chemicals held on the site.

Eight people suffered injuries ranging from burns to respiratory problems and head injuries.

Surrey Police said today that two remained seriously injured at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

A third patient was still receiving treatment at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in west London, a police spokeswoman added.

Police remained at the scene with officers from Surrey Fire and Rescue Service and the Health and Safety Executive to determine the cause of the fire.

Meanwhile, the industrial estate has been partially reopened for business.

Neighbourhood inspector Angie Austin said they were working to return the area to normality as soon as possible as she thanked businesses for their patience.

The Environment Agency was supporting the fire service after it emerged there was a run-off of water used to dampen the flames.