Part of historic Stewartby brickworks is destroyed by large fire

Fire service experts are investigating the cause

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 1:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th May 2021, 1:20 pm

A building on the Stewartby brickworks site has been 100 per cent destroyed by fire.

The building contained gas cylinders, which firefighter cooled with water to avoid an explosion.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to the blaze shortly after 9pm yesterday (Wednesday) and immediately put out a warning for nearby residents to keep their windows and doors closed due to the volume of smoke.

Stewartby brickworks before the blaze

They tweeted: "We are currently dealing with a large fire at Stewartby Brickworks near Kempston. Please can all residents in the local area keep windows and doors closed due to a large smoke plume."

Two fire crews from Bedford and Kempston used water carriers, jets and breathing apparatus to control the blaze,

"The building was 100% destroyed by the fire," said a Beds fire spokesman.

We are currently dealing with a large fire at Stewartby Brickworks near Kempston. Please can all residents in the local area keep windows and doors closed due to a large smoke plume.

The brickworks was once a bustling industrial site, producing 500 million bricks a year at its peak. But it was closed in 2008 as it was unable to achieve emission standards and now just four chimneys, two kilns and assorted buildings remain.

These are allset to be demolished and owners Hanson UK plans to build 1,000 houses and a business park on the site.

Bedford Borough Council has already agreed to the demolition of the chimneys on safety grounds, despite opposition by Historic England.

The cause of last night's fire is still unknown but fire experts are investigating.