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Company sentenced following uncontrolled fire

A company has been fined after an uncontrolled fire at its premises in Middlesbrough.

A company has been fined after an uncontrolled fire at its premises in Middlesbrough.

The large fire occurred at the premises of Vertellus Specialties UK Limited in the early morning of 14 May 2014. The fire involved dangerous substances including Vitride, which led to the fire being declared a major incident. The drums containing the substance burst open, causing a large fireball. 

No one was injured but police declared a major emergency.

A HSE, Environment Agency and Cleveland Fire Brigade investigation found that the company failed to adequately maintain its equipment and ensure the equipment was suitable to control temperature or prevent ignition to an uncontrolled release.

Vertellus Specialties UK Limited of Newcastle upon Tyne pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999.

Teesside Crown Court fined the company £135,000 and ordered it to pay costs of £37,653.12.

The case highlights the need to carry out robust planning to prevent and control major incidents, with all engineering disciplines and outside assistance when required.

More information on this case can be found at hse.gov.uk.