Man killed in blast at car firm blaze

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A South Normanton man died after a blaze at an Alfreton car repair firm on Saturday, which saw 50 firefighters from seven stations battle the flames.

Daniel Brown, 27, was rescued from a burning building on the Meadow Lane industrial estate , but later died at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. Two other men were treated for burns.

Stuart Brown, Daniel’s father said this week: “Dan was a kind, loving and thoughtful man who always put others first. He never caused trouble and we never fell out.”

Daniel had three brothers, two sisters and a long term girlfriend, Lorraine Jeffreys.

The fire broke out at LW Smart Repairs on Lydford Road shortly after noon and nine appliances, with firefighters from Alfreton, Ripley, Clay Cross, Belper, Heanor, Ilkeston and Matlock, battled the blaze for six hours.

Station manager Pete Maltby said: “It was an arduous and difficult operation. There was an initial explosion in a car body shop that was full of flammable liquids like paint and fuel. The fire took hold very quickly. Heat rose very quickly in the steel-clad building and caused more explosions. It was a real rapid fire spread. The lads did really well just to contain it and stop it spreading to adjoining buildings.”

The operation was hampered by nearby hazards, including a gas tank, oxyacetylene cylinders and a store of liquid nitrogen.

Neighbours reported their windows shaking as cylinders and tyres exploded at the car repair site. Police warned residents to shut their windows against smoke and fumes. Mr Maltby later advised firms to check they were correctly storing flammable materials, particularly in hot weather.

An investigation is now under way.