WORKERS had to be evacuated when flames ripped through a South Yorkshire factory.
Staff left Envelope Master, Aldwarke Lane, Rotherham, which makes envelopes, padded envelopes and bubble wrap, after the blaze was discovered.
When firefighters arrived the building was already engulfed in flames and, as they battled to extinguish the blaze, the walls and roof caved in.
They had to fight to prevent the blaze spreading to neighbouring industrial units, including Techspray Ltd and Candle Craft, which were just a few metres away from the inferno.
Station manger Rick Rolt, in charge of the firefighting operation, said crews deserved praise for saving the other business premises.
“When crews arrived they were faced with a 60 metre by 30 metre building which was already well alight and buildings of a similar size nearby, including one just five metres away,” he said.
“I thought when we pulled up that if we saved the surrounding buildings it would be a miracle, but we managed to get enough water between them to prevent a spread – the unit nearest to the fire escaped with just superficial damage.”
At the height of the blaze there were 10 fire engines at the scene and two aerial ladder platforms tackling the flames from above.
Crews worked through the night drenching the building with water and by daylight had the blaze under control. Police closed Aldwarke Lane while firefighters dealt with the blaze and a temporary stop was put on a nearby railway line during the early hours. Station manager Rolt said it had been too dangerous to send any firefighters into the burning building. An investigation into the cause of the fire, discovered at 10.40pm on Tuesday, is under way.
A spokesman for Envelope Master said: “We are extremely saddened to announce the destruction of our premises due to a fire. We are very grateful our safety procedures allowed all our employees to leave safely and unharmed with no injuries.
At this moment in time we have no idea as to the cause of the fire. We remain committed to offering our customers the best possible service and products on the market.”