MP Matt Western has paid tribute to ‘hero’ firefighters one year on from a major chemicals fire that shook Leamington.
The blaze at the Leeson Polyurethanes factory in Juno Drive, south Leamington, happened one year ago this week on August 27.
Warwick and Leamington Mr Western remembers the explosions and the cloud of smoke which loomed across the towns.
He said firefighters across Warwickshire and other areas of the country, but particularly the first responders in Leamington, prevented a potentially major catastrophe.
Mr Western also paid tribute to factory worker David Boswell who died in the fire.
In recognising the efforts of Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service for his MP Community Awards in February, he spoke with firefighters at the station who described the day of the fire.
One firefighter, a former Afghanistan veteran, said it was the scariest and most dangerous situation he had been involved in since he returned from war.
Mr Western said: “The public is so appreciative of what the firefighters did that day.
“I can’t remember a day in Leamington’s recent history where there was so much fear and uncertainty.
“We didn’t know how bad it could get.
“It was not long after the Beirut explosion in Lebanon which also involved chemicals and I was fearing the worst-case scenario.
“But the actions of the firefighters I spoke with who contained the fire in a matter of minutes potentially saved lives and serious loss of property that day.
“The public rarely gets to hear from these heroes who work hard all year round for little reward.
“But I hope the descriptions from Jon and Will really humanise the risks they take and the sacrifices they make to keep us all safe.
“My thoughts are with the family of David Boswell this week.”
On the day of the fire, emergency services urged nearby residents to stay indoors and close windows due to the factory containing chemicals.
Households within 100 metres of the blaze were also evacuated.
Firefighters from Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and as far as Manchester were deployed to contain it.