10 YEARS AGO: Drama in Buxworth as fire rips through Britannia Mill

Linda Goulden took this dramatic photograph of the fire at Britannia Mill, Buxworth, on the evening of Sunday August 28, 2005.
Linda Goulden took this dramatic photograph of the fire at Britannia Mill, Buxworth, on the evening of Sunday August 28, 2005.

It is almost ten years to the day since a huge fire ripped through a historic mill complex in Buxworth.

The blaze at the four-storey Britannia Mill destroyed the former cotton mill and damaged many of its adjoining buildings.

Residents closest to the fire were forced to leave their homes due to toxic fumes caused by tonnes of burning PVC on the site, while others were advised to keep doors and windows shut.

Recalling the dramatic events of the evening of Sunday August 28, 2005, Buxworth resident Linda Goulden said: “I had heard the noise of an explosion and ran out to see what had happened.

“Seeing the mill on fire I ran back in and phoned the fire brigade - just in time, as the phone line went down just afterwards.”

Ian Fairley had been at home watching TV when he too heard the explosion.

“There was a big bang which sounded like a trestle table being dropped,” he told the Advertiser at the time.

“We could not tell where it had come from; we were looking around and a friend of ours who is a fireman rang to say he was coming to it.

“The flames were above the level of the trees. We went outside to look and it was the back of the mill which had started (to catch fire) first.”

Another resident, an employee at Britannia Mill, could only watch on from his home as his workplace burned.

“I heard an explosion and it sounded like fireworks so I didn’t think anything of it, but someone from up the road rang us to say it was on fire,” he told the paper.

The Advertiser reported how a retained fire crew from Whaley Bridge was the first to reach the scene, with the mill already well alight. They were joined by colleagues from fire stations right across Derbyshire, along with appliances from neighbouring counties.

“It looked by 1am as if it had burnt itself out but there was another big bang as a different bit exploded,” added Ian, one of the residents forced to later leave his home due to the toxic fumes.

By morning the fire had been brought under control, but smoke from the site was reportedly still visible for miles around.

The mill building itself was reduced to nothing more than a charred shell and condemned, and parts which had not collapsed were scheduled for demolition.

Do you remember the events of August 28, 2005? Comment below or email news@buxtonadvertiser.co.uk.


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