Hinstock warehouse collapse: Rescue 'a triumph of teamwork'

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The dramatic rescue of a man trapped beneath thousands of tons of cheese after shelving collapsed at a warehouse was a "triumph of teamwork", a senior fire officer has said.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue's deputy chief fire officer Rod Hammerton was present throughout the eight-hour search for the fork lift truck driver, Tomasz Wiszniewski, who was trapped inside a refrigerated warehouse in Hinstock.

Anxious workmates clapped and cheered when Mr Wiszniewski, flanked by rescuers, emerged through a large hole firefighters had cut into the side of the warehouse at Edwards Transport last Friday.

"It was the best ending possible and a triumph for the emergency services teams who worked tirelessly to find Tomasz amid the devastation inside the warehouse and bring him out safely.

"It was quite a moment," Mr Hammerton said.

The drama began on Friday morning when Shropshire Fire and Rescue received a 999 call reporting that racking had collapsed inside a large refrigerated warehouse at Edwards Transport's chilled storage and distribution complex and a member of staff was believed missing.

"The sight that greeted the emergency services was remarkable and daunting," Mr Hammerton said.

"The warehouse was practically full to the ceiling with collapsed racking and thousands of pallets of cheese.

"The collapse was unstable – we could hear it creaking – and finding someone in all that was going to be very challenging," he added.

Shropshire Council has confirmed it has taken over the responsibility for the investigation from the Health and Safety Executive, whose inspectors visited the site on Monday.

Mrs Belcher said they hope to have all their staff back on site within the next week, and they will be offering counselling to workers, including Mr Wiszniewski.

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