A ‘dangerous’ blaze, which destroyed a building in the former Stanton Ironworks this week, saw 40 brave firefighters risk their lives to bring the flames and smoke under control.
Gas cylinders – and even fire extinguishers – contained in the building, which was used to store mattresses and foam, could be heard exploding inside.
Incident commander Garry Platts said the blaze, which was reported by several members of the public at about 6.10pm on Monday, was one of the fastest-spreading fires he had seen.
“It was a dangerous job – the building was collapsing and there were explosions – fire extinguishers exploding as well as gas cylinders,” he explained.
“The first 30 minutes were quite tricky.”
The fire was under control after about two hours, Mr Platts said, but smoke could be seen for miles around and there was a smell of burning in the air on Tuesday morning.
Lows Lane remained closed for most of the day on Tuesday.
The building, owned by Saint-Gobain, was left in an unsafe condition and was demolished in the afternoon after the fire service conducted an investigation into the cause of the blaze.
They told police that they did not believe it was suspicious but no further details had been released as the Advertiser went to press.
Last October a fire started in a pile of 7,000 tonnes of wood at Arcwood Recycling inside the ironworks, which burned for eight weeks.
The blaze caused pollutants to run-off into the nearby Erewash Canal killing thousands of fish and forcing Environment Agency officers to transport surviving fish across the country to safety.
A spokesman for the agency confirmed that no fish had been harmed this time.
Mr Platts said the fire should serve as a reminder to Ilkeston businesses to check their fire-safety procedures.
“I have to say, you could feel the sense of déjà-vu among the officers and crew,” he said.
“It does remind businesses of their responsibility for fire safety, not only for their own business but the affect on the local area.”
Two fire engines from Ilkeston, along with appliances from Long Eaton, Heanor, Derby and Stapleford were called to the fire.
A member of the public contacted police to say he had seen two teenagers ‘acting suspiciously’ around the area on Monday afternoon.
Police are investigating a possible link between this incident and the fire.