Fire breaks out at Dartford UCC Coffee warehouse fire
A large fire has broken out in a coffee warehouse.
A member of staff at UCC Coffee’s roastery in Riverside Industrial Estate, Dartford, Kent, reported the blaze at about 05:45 BST.
Nearby flats were evacuated while some residents were advised to keep doors and windows closed because of smoke. Roads in the area were closed.
UCC Coffee said: “No employees were hurt, and we understand the fire has been contained in the warehouse area.”
About 50 residents in flats near the area were asked to leave but have since been allowed to return home.
Kieran Down, who lives in a block of flats opposite the building with his partner Charlotte Farrugia and their six-week-old baby, said he heard “a lot of noise” outside when he opened his front door at about 06:00.
The 29-year-old water company manager said: “There is a lot of construction work on our road so our first thought was that they had started work early.
“I headed outside and could feel the heat as soon as I stepped out the door. It was already fully ablaze,” he said.
“I could see orange flames and hear lots of crackling.”
‘Panic and confusion’
Mr Down added: “My first priority was to get my family to safety. Being evacuated due to risk of explosion was quite terrifying.
“There were a lot of people being evacuated and a lot of spectators. There was panic and confusion.”
Ms Farrugia, said: “The fire looks like it’s getting under control, but there’s still quite a lot of thick black smoke.”
Elaine Swift, managing director of UCC Coffee, said: “We are working hard to secure production and supply for our customers to minimise disruption and will be supported by our European roasteries if necessary.”
The fire service said a drone would be used later to check if the blaze had spread.
The cause of the fire had not yet been found.