A BUSINESS rocked by tragedy has vowed to carry on.
Award-winning pie-making company Andrew Jones was devastated when a gas oven exploded in the small hours of Friday morning at the firm’s factory on Old Leeds Road.
The blast, which caused a roof to collapse, killed supervisor and father-of-two David Cole, 37, of Salterhebble.
Baker and father-of-one Marcus Cartwright, 24, of Crosland Moor, suffered broken ribs, a burst eardrum, bruising to his spine and minor burns and was taken to Leeds General Infirmary.
Yesterday afternoon his condition was said to be “serious but steadily improving”.
Four further workers suffered minor injuries but were released from hospital and were yesterday helping clear up at the factory.
On Saturday police, fire investigation and health and safety teams carried out a toothcomb investigation of the factory.
The exact cause of the explosion has not yet been established.
Owner Andrew Jones, who founded the business 21 years ago, paid an emotional tribute to his friend Mr Cole who had worked alongside him for over 10 years.
Mr Jones said: “There was nobody that could have been more loyal than him.
“It really has been such a loss for his family and his children and my heart goes out to them.
“It was such a shock. Nothing can prepare you for it.
“David was a good bloke and a good laugh to be with. It’s a family firm so he was like a friend.”
But despite the calamity Mr Jones said business had to continue as soon as possible.
Mr Jones said he would meet suppliers and staff over the next two days to discuss how to get the business back up and running.Related content
The company, which has shops in Marsh and Brighouse, has discussed using a Brighouse bakery formerly used by the firm.
He said: “We have got to continue. Someone has challenged me to have a pie by the end of the week.
“Other people’s livelihoods depend on us because we supply so many people and pay our staff’s wages. We have to carry on.”
Mr Jones added thanks for everyone who offered support to Mr Cole’s family and the business.
He said: “Everyone has been very helpful; the police, fire service, ambulance and the staff have been wonderful.
“We have some wonderful staff and our friends, family and customers have been very kind.”
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman added: “Andrew Jones is a really famous name in Huddersfield and has a fantastic reputation. I know Mr Jones well.
“I’m deeply saddened at the loss of a young man in his prime. It’s a dreadful tragedy and we shall have an immediate and full inquiry.
“Our thoughts and prayers and with Mr Cole’s and Mr Cartwright’s family.”