Asbestos Fibres Scattered over Derbyshire After Factory Fire

Smoke from a factory fire in Derbyshire which is scattering asbestos fibres across the town
Smoke from a factory fire in Derbyshire which is scattering asbestos fibres across the town

Tests on debris scattered across a Derbyshire town following a factory fire have confirmed the presence of white asbestos.

Police have arrested a 19-year-old on suspicion of arson following the large blaze that consumed the former Thorntons factory in Belper on Friday.

Officials have confirmed that material found scattered across the town following the fire was found to contain chrysotile.

However, they said there was no evidence of “high-level exposure” in Belper and that, if “appropriate clean-up procedures are followed, there should be no significant public health risk”.

Residents were advised to stay indoors for fear of asbestos being released after the fire started at 3:30pm.

Amber Valley Borough Council commented: “The asbestos fibres are contained within cement compound and are only released when the panels are broken up.

“Respirable fibres – those which can be breathed in – are therefore thought to be a small fraction of total material released.

“Weather conditions since the incident are thought to have been very helpful in minimizing the risk, both dispersing any small asbestos fibres and damping down larger pieces.

“The council is continuing to respond to requests to clean the local area where the material is identified.

“Further work is also taking place to control any ongoing risk from the damaged building and assess any future actions which may be required to minimise risks to the public.”