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Westwood Industrial Estate fire: four arrested on suspicion of arson

By Katie Davis

Three 12-year-olds and a girl aged 13 have been arrested on suspicion of starting a warehouse fire that has continued to burn for nine days.

The boy and three girls, who are all from Margate, have been questioned on suspicion of arson at the site in Nash Road.

More than 30 firefighters have been at the scene of the blaze each day since it started on Saturday, September 15, and are expected to be on site for days to come.

The fire broke out more than a week ago. Picture: Dave Larkins (4348338)
The fire broke out more than a week ago. Picture: Dave Larkins (4348338)

All four arrested have been released pending further investigation.

Enquiries are ongoing.

Yesterday, demolition crews began work to open up the unit in a bid to help the fire service access the former Cummins Power Generation building more safely.

Those living nearby were warned that this may increase the level of smoke in the area.

At its height, 80 firefighters were battling the fire, with huge plumes of smoke visible from as far as Sandwich.

The abandoned industrial unit is said to have contained 6,000 bales of 'illegally stored waste' according to the Environment Agency.

Officers from Thanet District Council reviewed the site last May and an investigation was begun, and is still ongoing.

The agency says there is no waste storage licence linked to the unit and a notice to remove contents, which was issued last year, went ignored.

A spokesman for the fire service said: "Kent Fire and Rescue Service remains at the scene of a warehouse fire in Westwood near Margate.
"Around 35 firefighters are working hard during daylight hours to contain the fire, drag the rubbish out of the fire zone, damp it down, turn it over and check for hot spots.

"Due to the size of the warehouse and its content the fire service is set to be working on the site for some time to come."

Cummins - which vacated the site back in 2014 - is said to have left the building in "a good condition".

A statement from the company says: "Cummins previously leased a facility in Westwood Industrial Estate in Thanet, vacating the premises mid-2014, and leaving the facility in a good condition.

"Operations were then moved to Manston Business Park.

"Cummins is no longer using the premises in Westwood Industrial Estate.

"t is sad to see the building on fire, and as an employer in Kent, we recognise the dedication and hard work done by Kent Fire and Rescue service. "Any concerns regarding the incident should be directed to the relevant authorities in charge."

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