Inferno at paints factory

Back in the early 1970s, a Leyland business was rocked by a huge fire at its storage unit.

Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 3:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 3:26 pm
The fire at the old Brook Mill which was used by Leyland Paints for storage - in the 1970s

The blaze tore through £3,000,000 worth of stock owned by Leyland Paints, which was kept in Brook Mill, in Orchard Street.

The smoke could be seen for miles and more than 70 firefighters were deployed to tackle the inferno in 1974.

Around 12 workers were in the factory but fled unharmed, No-one was injured. The main factory was located in Northgate.

Leyland Historical Society kindly sent in the photo to the right. Residents recall their memories of the incident on social media.

Colin Damp said: “I was a reporter on the LEP in Preston at the time and the fire was so sudden we couldn’t get anybody there in time to cover it so I hit on the idea of ringing a friend from St Ambrose Players (Molly Bretherton) who worked in Hemmings and Kent’s offices across the railway line in Bow Lane for an eye-witness report.”

Dawn Gibson Stirzaker said: “I remember that was at St Catherine’s RC School that day. You could see the black smoke for miles.”

Judy Naylor posted: “We could hear all the paint tins popping in Farington.”

Jayne Fitzsimmons Berry added: “I remember it because both my parents worked at the main Northgate works, you could see the smoke from our house on Downham Road.”

Angela Taylor said: “I remember watching it as a kid. I used to live on Mead Avenue so I saw it from the railings on Balcarres Road. I was six.”

Ian Wareing wrote: “I was in the playground at St Mary’s Juniors on School Lane. It looked a lot nearer than what it was.”

Ken Crosby said: “I lived on Spring Street opposite I was on nights and slept through it, even with the asbestos exploding all the time.”

Margaret Park added: “I was visiting home. The black smoke from the fire was awful. It could be seen quite plainly from Croston Road.”