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Medway councillor Stuart Tranter says warehouse fire won't change future of Chatham Docks

A campaigning councillor has told of his shock at a huge blaze which ripped through a warehouse at an industrial site.

Dramatic pictures show the carnage caused at Chatham Docks yesterday.

Drone images show the extent of the damage. Picture: @AerialimagingSE
Drone images show the extent of the damage. Picture: @AerialimagingSE

Ten fire engines and almost 50 firefighters were sent to the blaze – the incident finally coming to an end around 16 hours later.

It is understood the business affected is Chatham Freight, a recycling firm which used the building as storage.

Cllr Stuart Tranter (Con), who has been involved in the campaign to save the docks from closing, says while tragic, the incident will not change anything for the site's future.

He said: "I was shocked to hear about the fire. Anything like this for any Medway business is an horrific thing because so many lives and jobs are at stake for businesses.

"I would be very interested to find out what damage and harm has been done to the businesses affected and hopefully in due course find out the cause.

Cllr Stuart Tranter
Cllr Stuart Tranter

"From the initial reports I've seen the fire service responded quickly and managed to get it under control and I'm glad no one was hurt.

"I think people forget how huge the docks are so before anyone jumps to conclusions, we need to understand the scope of what has happened.

"The future of the docks, as far as I'm concerned, is about the use of the land for employment and that is a very long-term opinion.

"It's not just about the businesses that are there now, even if they were all to close my view would not change about the future.

"The fact that an incident occurred, tragic though it is and we need to learn from it, there is no connection between it and the long term strategic importance of the docks."

Firefighters tackled the warehouse blaze. Picture: KFRS
Firefighters tackled the warehouse blaze. Picture: KFRS
The fire devastated the Chatham Freight building
The fire devastated the Chatham Freight building

The alarm was initially raised at about 2.50am when residents living nearby reported hearing loud bangs.

Firefighters did not leave the scene until 6.40pm last night.

This year, there have been rows over future plans for the site.

Multi-million pound plans by Peel L&P to close the docks and build 3,625 homes have been tabled.

But the proposals have been met with stiff opposition from businesses, politicians and residents alike.

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