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Paper warehouse gutted in blaze

FIRE crews battled for almost 20 hours before finally putting out a major blaze at a Bahrain warehouse yesterday. More than 70 workers had to be evacuated when flames ripped through United Paper Industries, Sitra, at around 9pm on Monday.

Around 50 tonnes of paper and 350 tonnes of cardboard boxes were destroyed in the inferno, which continued to burn until yesterday evening, a company spokesman told the GDN.

He estimated the cost of damage to be more than BD150,000, but the cause of the fire was still under investigation last night.

It took a total of 42 firemen, 11 officers and 22 fire engines to put out the flames, which spread rapidly through paper and other flammable materials inside the warehouse.

However, even though the fire burnt for so long, they were able to ensure it did not spread to surrounding buildings.

"There were 70 workers in the warehouse when the fire started and they were evacuated from the factory by the Civil Defence," assistant general manager Abdul Jabbar Al Ghasra told the GDN yesterday.

"The fire spread quickly as the warehouse is full of paper and other flammable items."

He added that the warehouse was insured, but said the blaze would cause delays for some of the company's customers.

"We are manufacturing carton boxes and workers were working on the production of our last order, which was ready for delivery," he explained.

"We are calling all our customers and telling them about the fire.

"We also promise all customers that we will produce their order and deliver it in a few days, as we have enough raw materials to restart our work.

"They just have to wait for some time."

He also revealed that more of the company's product could have gone up in smoke if it wasn't for the quick thinking of its staff.

They tried to tackle the blaze themselves before fire crews arrived and managed to rescue some of the firm's goods.

"I would like to thank our workers, who were trying to put out the fire before Civil Defence arrived at the scene," added Mr Al Ghasra.

"They were helping in cleaning and moving the items and were able to move 150 tonnes of finished goods."

Some of the firm's staff were also involved in a cleanup operation at the warehouse yesterday, but it is expected to take up to a week before work can resume.

"We have to wait for a report from the Civil Defence to start the renovation," added Mr Al Ghasra.

"After the renovation and as soon as we get the electricity, we will restart all over again."

Firemen battled with the flames overnight on Monday and for most of yesterday, before finally putting them out at around 4pm.

The factory, established in 1994, is a partnership of 20 investors from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.



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