A huge fire has ripped through an industrial building in Kent this morning (Friday. September 4) after what witnesses describe as a “big, big explosion.”
A MASSIVE black mushroom cloud could be seen hundreds of feet above the site in Vicarage Lane in Hoo, Rochester, after the initial explosion at around 4.30am.
Footage shared on social media show the sky lit up by flames, believed to have been accelerated by gas cylinders.
Neighbour, Joe Discipline, told PA news agency: “Around 4/4.30am a huge explosion shook the house and windows. I jumped out of bed to see the sky was orange.
“There was then a second explosion, just as big, and that’s when I started to record.”
— Scott Bradley (@ScottyMBradley) September 4, 2020
Paul, 60, who opted not to give his second name, lives on St Mary’s Island, across the River Medway from the fire, and was awoken around 5am.
He told PA that he heard “cracking and things exploding, so then started to video it – then all of a sudden, boom, it was a big, big explosion.
“I was thinking, is it going to be like Beirut? At the end of the day, you see the mushroom cloud, then there might have been a secondary explosion which was even bigger, so I was just a little bit worried.”
— Kent Fire and Rescue Service (@kentfirerescue) September 4, 2020
The fire service cleared the scene and urged residents to close all windows and doors, and said that as yet, no casualties have been reported.
At 7.30am, Kent Fire and Rescue Service confirmed 10 fire engines were tackling the blaze.
In an update at 9am, it stated: “Firefighters remain at the scene of an industrial unit fire on Vicarage Lane in Hoo, near Rochester. Five fire engines and a bulk water carrier are in attendance, and crews have been using main jets and ground monitors to tackle the blaze and reduce the fire spread.
“A large amount of smoke is coming from the fire, and so those living or working close to the area of the fire and its smoke plume, which includes towards Grain and across the Hoo peninsula, are still being advised to close windows and doors as a precaution.”
South East Coast Ambulance, Kent Police and Medway Council’s Emergency Planning Officers have also been in attendance. No casualties have been reported.