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Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK
Fire at Nissan plant
Nissan plant
The Nissan Micra is produced at the factory
Nissan's giant Wearside car factory was hit by a fire in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Firefighters were called to the flagship plant in Sunderland at 0300 BST.

Workers were stripping out old equipment in a plastics workshop when chemical residues were set alight.

The plant was evacuated while crews tackled flames for nearly three hours.

'Work cut out'

However, only 29 of the factory's 4,900 workforce were on site when the fire broke out.

Fire officer John Bowmaker from Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade said: "There was an orange glow and instantly we knew we had out work cut out.

"Nissan is a very complex premises.

"Because of the process of car manufacture all the factory units are linked together.

"The concern was that the fire could have spread to the roof."

Production at the Japanese car giant - which starts at 0700 BST - was not affected.

A Nissan spokeswoman said: "Twenty-nine workers were led to safety from the plastics building.

"Staff were allowed to return after two hours, when production in the plastic plant was re-started.

"No-one was at any risk during this incident, and production of the Micra, Almera and Primera continues unaffected."

Click here to go to Tyne
See also:

30 Oct 01 | Business
Nissan and Renault cement ties
21 Jun 01 | Business
Ghosn tightens Nissan grip
17 May 01 | Business
Nissan returns to profit
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