Barwell factory fire may be arson
Police believe a huge fire which destroyed a factory may have been started deliberately.
Leicestershire Police said yesterday the cause of the fire at the Arden Direct and Digital mail order company, in Arthur Street, Barwell, was now being treated as suspicious.
The factory, which contained hundreds of thousands of brochures, was engulfed in an inferno on Saturday afternoon.
Flames could be seen for miles around as more than 50 firefighters battled the blaze for about seven hours.
Firefighters were still at the scene yesterday, dealing with isolated hot spots as demolition crews took down the remaining walls of the building.
Roads around the factory, including Arthur Street, King Street and George Street, remain cordoned-off because of concerns about the safety of the remaining standing walls.
A police spokeswoman said: "It is suspicious, we do have an investigation. We are looking to speak to witnesses and looking at CCTV in the area.
"We are making a witness appeal for any specific activity in the area at the time."
Firefighters managed to save the company's adjoining offices by laying down a water "curtain" to protect it from the flames. The premises are just yards from residential properties and some homes were evacuated as the fire raged.
Residents were forced to find other places to stay on Saturday night as they were not allowed back in their homes.
A Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said yesterday: "Demolition crews are on site and our crew is waiting to deal with any remaining hot spots. There is one deep-seated hot spot, but they need to wait for one of the remaining walls to be taken down so they can get to it safely."
The Mercury was unable to contact the company's owner, Sally Hollis, yesterday.
But earlier this week she told how she was on holiday in Paris when she got a call about the blaze from a member of staff.
She said: "I was in my hotel and my phone went. He said, 'The factory's burned down'.
"I jumped on the Eurostar and got back as soon as possible."
Three of her 35 members of staff were working in a call centre when the fire started, but escaped unharmed.
She said: "The most important thing is that nobody was hurt, thank God. That's the only bit of good news.''