Hitchin fire: Schools on lockdown as smoke billows over town

The black plume of smoke in Hitchin's industrial area. Picture: James Payne

The black plume of smoke in Hitchin's industrial area. Picture: James Payne - Credit: Archant

Schools across Hitchin are on lockdown today as emergency crews tackle a 100-tonne electrical goods fire on the town’s industrial estate.

Fire crews at the scene of the electrical fire in Cadwell Lane, Hitchin. Picture: Chris Martin

Fire crews at the scene of the electrical fire in Cadwell Lane, Hitchin. Picture: Chris Martin - Credit: Archant

Hitchin Boys’ School, The Priory School and Strathmore Infant and Nursery School are all keeping pupils and staff inside with windows and doors closed until futher notice. Toad Hall Nursery is doing the same.

Hitchin Boys’ School tweeted that students were being kept in for lunch due to the smoke, and would be allowed home at 3.30pm – with no after-school clubs or detentions today. Strathmore has indicated it will be closing at the usual time.

Six fire crews from Hitchin, Baldock & Letchworth, Stevenage and St Albans stations are at the scrapyard off Cadwell Lane after getting the call at 9.40am to reports of a fire of electrical goods in the open – with the aerial ladder platform despatched from Stevenage. Police and paramedics are also there.

The fire in Cadwell Lane, Hitchin, as seen from MKS Carpentry Ltd off Wilbury Way. Picture: Stacy To

The fire in Cadwell Lane, Hitchin, as seen from MKS Carpentry Ltd off Wilbury Way. Picture: Stacy Toombs - Credit: Archant

Police and the ambulance service have told the Comet nobody has been injured. The road at its junctions with Woolgrove Road and Wallace Way remains closed.


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The black smoke can be seen from Letchworth and Stevenage. Emergency personnel have urged people across the Hitchin, Letchworth and Stevenage areas to close all doors and windows.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “There are no casualties at the scene. However, we are advising at this stage for local residents to stay indoors and keep windows closed.”

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The Comet is awaiting further updates from the emergency services.

A Great Northern spokesman said: “The fire is not affecting rail services at the moment, but emergency services are keeping us up to date in case any safety concerns arise.”

A spokeswoman for Luton Airport said the smoke was having “zero impact on flights”.

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Plumes of smoke can be seen from Hitchin railway station. Picture: Jeremy Colman via Twitter

Plumes of smoke can be seen from Hitchin railway station. Picture: Jeremy Colman via Twitter - Credit: Archant

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A fire is burning in Hitchin as black smoke rises over the town. Picture: Pippa Akram

A fire is burning in Hitchin as black smoke rises over the town. Picture: Pippa Akram - Credit: Archant

The huge fire can be seen from Hitchin railway station. Picture: Jeremy Colman via Twitter

The huge fire can be seen from Hitchin railway station. Picture: Jeremy Colman via Twitter - Credit: Archant

The Hitchin industrial estate fire. Picture: Ross Lopeman

The Hitchin industrial estate fire. Picture: Ross Lopeman - Credit: Archant

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