Managers at a blaze hit textile business have paid tribute to firefighters, saying: “If it wasn’t for them 70 people would be out of work”.
Part of Holmfirth Dyers, a 32-year-old upholstery and cloth dyeing firm near the centre of the picturesque village, went up in flames in the early hours of Saturday.
At its peak, a dozen fire crews – approximately 60 firefighters – from across West and South Yorkshire, were needed to tackle the incident.
The fire began in an old mill building off Dunford Road just after midnight, completely gutting it and destroying the roof.
But firefighters managed to prevent the blaze spreading to other buildings, giving the company owners, brothers Brian and Martin Duckett, a chance of getting the firm back on its feet.
Spokesperson for the company Lynda Baldwin, the health and safety manager, said they wanted to pay tribute to the efforts of the fire service.
She said it was the company’s first major incident in more than three decades of operation.
“It could have been far worse if hadn’t been dealt with so well by firefighters,” she said. “If it wasn’t for them there would be 70 people out of work today.
“We can’t thank them enough. They worked so hard throughout the night and the following day.
“They were here until 9pm on Saturday.
“If they hadn’t have been there so quickly we would have lost the whole premises and there would have been no coming back.
“Because of them we’ve got a fighting chance.”
Mrs Baldwin said the owners, who also run the Park Valley Mill business park in Lockwood, had vowed all the staff could keep their jobs while they worked out a plan on how to bring production back.
She said senior managers were meeting on Monday to continue formulating a recovery plan.
She added: “We don’t know how long it will be until we’re recovered but we hope to be getting some kind of production back underway next week.
“It will be hard but everybody’s pulling together to get us up and running again.”
The huge fire initially sparked fears that neighbouring homes would have to be evacuated.
Helen Wilson, whose bedroom looked onto the burning building, said she too was extremely grateful for such an effective fire service who “worked tirelessly all night.”
She added: “They’ve done an awesome job. It’s just a blessing that nobody’s been hurt.”
The incident has also raised concerns of chemical contamination of the adjacent River Holme.
A chemical detection unit was sent to the scene but there has not yet been an update from the authorities on the issue.