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Last Updated: Monday, 17 July 2006, 07:28 GMT 08:28 UK
Job fears after huge bakery blaze
Fire at Fletcher's bakery
The Fletcher's bakery fire raged for more than eight hours
Hundreds of workers at a Sheffield bakery which was destroyed in a fire at the weekend are waiting to hear more about their future.

An investigation was under way on Monday into the cause of the fire at Fletcher's bakery in Wadsley Bridge.

About 65 firefighters tackled the fire, which started on Sunday morning.

Northern Foods, which owns the bakery, said managers were meeting at the site on Monday to assess the fire's impact on the business and its 650 employees.

Staff who had been due to start their shift at 1000 BST on Monday were being asked to attend a meeting with managers at Wadsley Bridge working men's club.

Northern Foods had only announced in May that it was putting the bakery site up for sale as a going concern.

Fire at Fletcher's bakery
A plume of acrid smoke could be seen for miles around the site

Director of communications Hilary Baker said: "There will be a very thorough investigation into the cause of the fire and its impact over the next few days.

"It is obviously a very unfortunate event but it is too early to say what the effect on the company will be."

All of the bakery's 150 workers who were on site at the time of the fire had escaped injury, she said.

One worker told BBC Radio Sheffield how the incident began.

"One of the lads who works on the plant saw a couple of sparks from a cooler and then it just exploded," she said.

"Somebody said get out quick and they just ran and got out."

Health warning

Fire crews remained at the scene on Monday morning to damp down the wreckage.

A South Yorkshire fire service spokesman said the premises had been "almost completely destroyed".

"It will be very difficult for the business to resurrect itself, certainly in the short term," he said.

During the fire, plumes of thick black smoke billowed hundreds of feet into the air over a large area around the bakery in Clay Wheels Lane, northern Sheffield.

The fire service has advised anyone suffering nausea or breathing problems after inhaling smoke to go to hospital.

See more on the bakery fire

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