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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 January 2006, 19:17 GMT
Factory fire sparks chemical fear
West Bromwich fire scene
Smoke from the fire is heading across the M5 motorway
At least 75 firefighters are tackling a major chemical blaze at a factory in the West Midlands.

The fire broke out on Thursday afternoon at the Pargat factory in Colliery Road, close to West Bromwich Albion's football ground.

A West Midlands Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said at least 20 tonnes of the chemical resorcinol was ablaze.

Smoke and fumes are said to be travelling in a large cloud across the M5 motorway.

The spokeswoman said the cloud contained sulphur and was heading westwards towards Dudley.

Residents warned

Residents are advised to keep doors and windows closed and motorists are advised that visibility on the motorway will be poor.

The fire service said part of the fire-damaged building had collapsed.

Divisional officer John Rees, of West Midlands Fire and Rescue, said fire had engulfed the entire building.

"The company makes non-stick coatings and uses about 30 chemicals in the process.

"We have to be quite careful about how the residue is going to be disposed off, we don't want it all flushing away."

Environment Agency experts are also at the scene. Fire crews are expected to remain there well into Friday morning.

The blaze broke out on an industrial estate meaning homes in the area did not have to be evacuated.

Motorists are advised of traffic congestion due to the large number of fire engines involved. Roads in the area have not been closed.

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