27,000 pallets burn as Telford industrial estate fire spreads to nursery next door
Fire crews from across Shropshire battled a major blaze which could be seen across the county overnight.
The dramatic fire in Halesfield 23 broke out at around 10.45pm and initially involved around 27,000 pallets before spreading to two neighbouring properties, including Halesfield Day Nursery and Tarmac.
Explosions were heard, flames rose high into the sky and smoke billowed across Telford as the fire ripped through the nursery's playground and also affected concrete suppliers Besblock.
- Scroll to the bottom of the article for the latest from the scene
- UPDATE: Thousands raised for nursery as businesses count cost of blaze
Witnesses described the blaze, which was still smouldering at 7.30am, as looking like Donnington bonfire at its peak.
The cause is not yet known and fire investigators are expected to be on the scene for several days.
Twelve fire appliances including the aerial ladder platform, the incident command unit and the incident support unit were sent to the blaze from across Shropshire.
The Environment Agency, police, Telford & Wrekin Council and utility workers were also at the scene.
WATCH the moment the fire broke out here:
Video: Lewis Ellis
Scott Hurford, duty group manager for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, said the firefighters' main focus had been preventing the blaze from spreading to more of the neighbouring businesses.
The scene this morning was one of devastation with ash left piled up where the pallets had been and a nearby lorry left gutted.
Next door the playground at Halesfield Day Nursery has been destroyed with a shed burnt down, bikes ruined and fire damage visible all over the yard.
The nursery had been due to reopen today for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown started.
Helen Childs, manager and landlady at the nursery, said the blaze had also damaged a window and melted guttering on the building.
She said: "It's just devastating that it's completely destroyed the playground.
"It was full of wooden huts, sand trays, playhouses, plastic furniture, we also had a six seater pushchair.
"We were due to reopen today. We were excited to see all those happy faces. There was going to be 15 children coming back and the following week we were going to go up to 30.
"We've had to just say we can't reopen yet.
"We had worked so hard to make sure everything was ready. It's really disappointing and couldn't come at a worse time, but I'm confident we will bounce back.
"The community have been so supportive. We do feel loved.
"The nursery has been there for 30 years so there is a lot of support. It's very humbling.
"It's lovely that a fundraiser has been set up. It will help us drastically.
"We want to get back up and running as soon as possible."
It is aiming to raise £3,000 to help rebuild the playground and has already raised more than £400.
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service was called out just before 10.45pm last night.
Crews from Albrighton, Bridgnorth, Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Hodnet, Much Wenlock, Newport, Prees, Shrewsbury, Telford Central, Tweedale, Wellington and Wem were all helping to fight the fire.
Reporter Nick Humphreys has been at the scene:
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