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Rescued man back at work hours after fire
A worker rescued from a fierce fire at a west Oxfordshire plastics factory returned to work the next day.
The 55-year-old was trapped inside a smoke-filled room at Oxford Plastics’ Enstone plant when colleagues broke through a wall to rescue him.
But he was back at work with the four colleagues who helped to rescue him the next day to clean up after Friday night’s blaze, thought to have broken out during welding operations.
About 80 firefighters were called out after the fire started at about 8pm in a unit with 12 staff at work inside at the Enstone Airfield industrial estate, off the B4030 Bicester Road, north-east of the village.
A plume of smoke from the fire could be seen about 12 miles away. The firefighters brought the blaze under control by about 10pm.
The rescued man was taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and burns. He was discharged later that night.
Company operations director David McGee said: “The man who was injured came in on Saturday for a couple of hours to lend a hand with the clean-up and he will be back at work on Monday night.
“The staff are a dedicated bunch and some of them could be nominated for bravery awards.”
And he said he expected 85 per cent of the factory – which makes safety materials for construction sites – to be back in production today.
About 10 firefighters remained at the factory until 4.30pm on Saturday to damp down the badly-burned plastics unit.
Incident commander Jason Crapper said: “The chap who was trapped inhaled a lot of smoke and his colleagues probably saved his life.
“Firefighters had to wear breathing apparatus masks because of the toxic smoke.
“Our main concern was preventing the fire from spreading to an adjacent paper mill, which we managed to do.”
The circumstances of the blaze, which is being treated as an accident, will be investigated by experts from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Mr Crapper said he believed that the fire had started during a “welding incident”.
He said: “There was structural damage to the building where the fire started, which looked like a pre-war hangar.
“The fire was very intense and also caused a lot of damage to stock.”
The firm has thanked the fire service crews for their “quick-thinking and brave response to the situation”.
A South Central Ambulance spokesman said that a 55-year-old man was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and burns.
She said: “He was unconscious but breathing when he was taken to hospital.”