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Telford fire: £4,000 raised for nursery as neighbouring business left with six-figure bill

By Lisa O'Brien | Telford | News | Published:

The scale of the damage caused by a huge fire at a Telford industrial estate has been revealed.

Drone photos show the fire damage at Halesfield Day Nursery and Tarmac

The fire in Halesfield 23 involved thousands of pallets and broke out at Tarmac last night, before spreading to two nearby properties.

Fire crews from across the county were sent to tackle the blaze, which tore through the playground at Halesfield Day Nursery.

The nursery had been due to reopen today for the first time following the coronavirus lockdown but was forced to put its plans on hold.

The blaze also affected the nearby premises occupied by concrete block maker Besblock, causing damage running into six figures.

Halesfield Day Nursery manager Helen Childs, centre, with her children Freya, Megan and Reuben, and deputy manager Jackie Morris

Staff at the nursery described their devastation but also thanked the community for their support, as dozens of people donated to an online fundraiser to help rebuild the playground.

Helen Childs, manager and landlady at the nursery, 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. We were excited to see all those happy faces. There were 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."

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More than £4,000 was raised in a matter of hours on GoFundMe.

WATCH: Footage shows flames leaping into sky

Huge fire at Telford industrial estate

The online nursery fundraiser, which had set a target of trying to raise £3,000, was launched by Danielle Scriven, of Telford.

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A post on the fundraising page said: "Halesfield Day Nursery has such an amazing team of dedicated staff, parents and children who are very upset by this, which has also resulted in us delaying the reopening of our nursery after an already apprehensive and hard time during Covid-19.

"We were all really looking forward to returning to work today and bringing a bit of normality and structure back to all of our families lives who we have missed dearly.

The frames of children's bikes destroyed in the fire
The fire-damaged playground

"As a charity run nursery we rely on funding and the generosity of the caring people around us.

"We would really really appreciate any help possible in raising the funds to get our nursery playground looking amazing again for our children, staff and families and hopefully put the smiles back on their faces."

Family firm left with six-figure damage

Besblock managing director Andrew Huxley said he was devastated by the impact at his long-running family firm, which makes concrete blocks for the likes of Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey.

And although the second factory site further up the road was still making and delivering all the blocks that have been ordered, it was a cruel blow coming on top of coronavirus.

"It is a devastating scene today," said Mr Huxley.

Drone footage of the fire once it was under control captured by Matt Lewis

"Only last week we were talking about new orders and more confidence in the construction industry and then this happens to knock everything back.

"There's been widespread fire damage to a lot of the buildings and we have lost the works canteen as well as the parts warehouse.

"A lot of stock has been destroyed and we're looking at a bill well into six figures.

"Our heart goes out to the other businesses which have suffered damage too.

The damage at Besblock

"It's an incredibly tough time for every business so for this to happen is just a kick in the teeth."

Mr Huxley, who's dad John started the business on the same site back in 1972, said the timing of the blaze meant workers were thankfully not at risk.

"The factory runs a couple of shifts normally but because things have slowed down during the coronavirus pandemic we are fortunate that no one was around," he said.

"It's going to take a couple of days to assess all the damage but we're trying to work around it as best we can, with lorries and our concrete blocks still going out amidst the ashes."

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service was called out just before 10.45pm yesterday.

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.

The Environment Agency, police, Telford & Wrekin Council and utility workers also attended.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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