The blaze at the mill in Bosely, Cheshire, leaves four people missing as emergency service search for three men and one woman.
Police investigate the cause of the fire and look for “signs of life” in order to find the four missing workers who have been named as William Barks, 51; Dorothy Bailey, 62; Jason Shingler, 39, and Derek Moore, 62.
Assistant Chief Constable Guy Hindle, from Cheshire Police, states “We are still in a search phase.” Firefighters eagerly search surrounding areas facing a “very challenging and demanding environment”.
Chief Fire Officer Paul Hancock adds, “We are slowly and methodically accessing those two areas. We have not been able to locate anybody but we firmly believe we are searching the right areas.”
He continues to project the fire crews optimism as “they are looking for people who are still alive” and “they won’t give up hope until they locate these four individuals.”
A search-and-rescue expert adviser, Tony Brown, of Merseyside fire and rescue service explains, “The process is slow and steady. We have got a rough idea of where the people are, from intelligence before the incident and from running the search dogs over the pile. We are not going to give up, in the hope we do find somebody.”
Following the mills explosions last Friday morning, the company which owns the mill, Wood Treatment Ltd, part of the Boden Group, has not made any public comment.
The future of the investigation is believed to be handed over from the fire service to police for a joint investigation with the Health and Safety Executive.
Leader of Cheshire East Council, Michael Jones, witnesses the local communities come together for a “very emotional” service at St Mary’s Church in Bosley earlier this morning.
He states: “People are listening, helping and talking. But the signs of real impact are beginning to show.”
Firefighters say temperatures reached up to 1,000C as an inferno engulfed the mill. Other injuries at the scene consisted of a total of 35 casualties, with four people taken to hospital. A 29-year-old woman was airlifted to Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, after suffering serious burns and injuries to her head, face, arms and chest.