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Opinion : How could such a large fire happen so close to a residential area in High Wycombe?

| June 4, 2021

A plume of smoke rises from a fire on the industrial estate behind the houses in Deeds Grove, High Wycombe.

Did you see the smoke from the big fire in Cressex, High Wycombe yesterday?

Of course you did! In fact people as far a field as Downley and Castlefield saw the thick, black, acrid smoke billowing into the air signifying that something had gone terribly wrong on the Cressex Industrial Estate.

This must surely be one of the biggest fires in High Wycombe for many a year. The ‘stats’ for the fire were:

  • 2 buildings destroyed.
  • 100+ calls made to the 999 emergency service from members of the public reporting the fire.
  • 70 fire fighting personnel were involved in tackling the blaze.
  • 15 fire stations, from across three counties, sent fire fighting appliances to the scene.
  • Eight cars were destroyed by the fire.
  • Five main jets, four sets of breathing apparatus, two turntable ladders and a water tanker were deployed to extinguish the fire.
  • It took around 4 hours for the smoke to subside.

My good self happened to see the smoke rising into the air despite being approximately 1 mile away from the blaze.

This fire was so big it was still profusely billowing smoke two hours after it started, indeed my good self remarked to a friend that perhaps it would need the services of Red Adair to put this particular blaze out.

I am told by my colleagues on the news section of this site who visited the scene that debris from the fire could even be found on the pavement in Deeds Grove and just being in Deeds Grove was a frightening experience with the smoke rising from gargantuan fire raging just the other side of the houses.

The article about the fire that appeared in the news section of this site even said that ‘The fire also destroyed the fencing of nearby homes.

Looking on a satellite view of the area it seems the back gardens of many homes actually back onto the industrial estate with industrial buildings literally a stones throw from the back of many residential properties.

But how could an incident like this occur?

How could such a large fire spring up so close to residential houses?

Surely the placement of industrial facilities so close to residential properties is a big mistake and the picture of smoke rising into the air, at the top of this blog, is perhaps ultimate proof of the failure of the town planning process?

My grandfather who lived in Wycombe all his life, used to say : ‘Years ago they built the industrial estate out of the way in Cressex for a reason so it wouldn’t affect the houses, then years later they went and built houses right next to it!‘.

In my opinion there needs to be a fundamental review of what industrial activities are taking place on the other side of residents garden fences to prevent large fires from springing up so close to residential areas.

Perhaps the law should be changed to require a 200 yard ‘exclusion zone’ between industrial facilities and housing?

Thankfully nobody was injured in yesterday’s fire, next time things may not turn out so lucky.

What do you think?

My blogs are published regularly here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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