Batley Mill Blaze: Eye witness accounts

Fire at Greenhill Mills, Grange Road, Batley

Fire at Greenhill Mills, Grange Road, Batley

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A huge blaze ripped through a mill bringing a town centre to a standstill.

Plumes of smoke could be seen from miles away when Greenhill Mills, on Grange Road, in Batley went up in flames just before noon today (Thursday).

Fire at Greenhill Mills, Grange Road, Batley

Fire at Greenhill Mills, Grange Road, Batley

And units at neighbouring Batley Business Park had to be evacuated.

Police closed the roads around the mill as fire crews from Dewsbury, Cleckheaton, Leeds, Morley and Ossett, and later Mirfield, Wakefield and Hunslet, tackled the blaze with 10 pumps and an aerial platform.

At its peak 50 firefighters were at the scene.

It is understood the building is now close to collapse and will be demolished.

Greenhill Mills in Batley was gutted in a fire.

Greenhill Mills in Batley was gutted in a fire.

Staff from the business park were ordered to wait behind a police cordon before they were told it was safe to return inside.

Stephanie Naylor said: “One minute the mill was there and the next minute it was gone. As I came in to work I saw all the fire and police everywhere – I’ve never seen anything like it in Batley.”

Sue Finnerty said: “I didn’t even know it was going on, I was on the phone. Then someone came in and told us all to get outside.”

Gill Watson, who manages the business park, said as soon as she the fire broke out she took advice from the emergency services and no one was injured.

Picture: @WhitfieldCentre

Picture: @WhitfieldCentre

Grange Road in the centre of the town remained closed for several hours while crews got the blaze under control.

Simon Walker had been waiting in his car for two hours after he tried to get to work further down Grange Road.

He said: “I heard two explosions that I think were vans parked by the side of the mill going up.”

Workman Simon Milner was also caught up in the delays.

He said: “You could see it from Castleford. I was on my way to Dewsbury to do a job and I thought, ‘right, I can’t get through Batley then!’

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service area manager Nick Smith praised firefighters for their quick and effective response.

He said: “This was a mill building used predominantly for textiles and when crews arrived the building was well alight, with the fire spreading quickly.

“Firefighters worked in very difficult, windy conditions to prevent the very real danger of the fire spreading to neighbouring buildings.

“The mill was also at risk of collapse, which posed further difficulties to firefighter safety.

“Crews quickly evacuated people from nearby properties and contained the fire. It was a tremendous effort from all firefighters, who made the lives of nearby people their priority, and I applaud their quick thinking and hard work.”