Allplas rises from the ashes a year on from the laptop explosion

PUBLISHED: 08:30 10 March 2019

Letchworth-based Allplas caught fire when a laptop was left on charge over night. Picture: Steve Paffett

Letchworth-based Allplas caught fire when a laptop was left on charge over night. Picture: Steve Paffett

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A plastic manufacturing company in Letchworth has "risen from the ashes" after a devastating fire this time last year.

The fire – which was thought to have been caused by a laptop charger – erupted in the office space of Allplas in Works Road and caused smoke damage to most of the stock.

Owner Steve Allplas said: “It is a year ago that we had our fire and the staff now have a really pleasant and modern environment to work in again.

Police, fire and ambulance attended the scene of the blaze. Picture: Steve PaffettPolice, fire and ambulance attended the scene of the blaze. Picture: Steve Paffett

“I didn’t realise just how bad the smoke damage was. What began as a small office fire destroyed everything of any value.

“The insurance paid out for all of the stock and it was disposed of.

Steve urges people to remember to take electronics off charge. Picture: Steve PaffettSteve urges people to remember to take electronics off charge. Picture: Steve Paffett

At the time, Steve issued a warning about leaving laptops left on charge, and faced what he thought would be six months of repairing the damage. Repairs were not complete until November last year.

“We were managing quite well considering, but for a time it wasn’t the best environment for the staff,” he said. “I’m really grateful to them. They put up with a lot of soot and black fingers. But now we’ve risen out of the ashes.”

A year ago the office at Allplas in Letchworth caught fire after a laptop battery exploded. Picture: Steve PaffettA year ago the office at Allplas in Letchworth caught fire after a laptop battery exploded. Picture: Steve Paffett

A year on, the business is back to full working order

Most recently, the tarpaulins and netting specialist company was commissioned to create a sheet for the crocodile enclosure at Chester Zoo.

A year ago the office at Allplas in Letchworth caught fire after a laptop battery exploded. Picture: Steve PaffettA year ago the office at Allplas in Letchworth caught fire after a laptop battery exploded. Picture: Steve Paffett

Steve continued: “Following a fire at Chester Zoo, the roof of the area was destroyed and while stress tents are carried out on the steel, they required a very large waterproof roof sheet.

“We produced two clear polyester reinforce PVC tarpaulins and supplied some heavy duty large UV stabilised bubble sheet.

A year ago the office at Allplas in Letchworth caught fire after a laptop battery exploded. Picture: Steve PaffettA year ago the office at Allplas in Letchworth caught fire after a laptop battery exploded. Picture: Steve Paffett

“They put up 3mm steel cables and then laid the first sheet across the cables.

“Then the bubble insulation was laid on that and finally the second sheet put over the bubble to form a sandwich. The effect lifted the temperature from 1°C to 27.5°C – the ideal temperature is 28 degrees, so all worked really well.

A year ago the office at Allplas in Letchworth caught fire after a laptop battery exploded. Picture: Steve PaffettA year ago the office at Allplas in Letchworth caught fire after a laptop battery exploded. Picture: Steve Paffett

“The crocodiles at Chester Zoo are now safe, dry and warm.”

Steve also discussed the issue on single-use plastics, and the affect it has on the environment.

A year ago the office at Allplas in Letchworth caught fire after a laptop battery exploded. Picture: Steve PaffettA year ago the office at Allplas in Letchworth caught fire after a laptop battery exploded. Picture: Steve Paffett

He said: “I’m a plastics company and people have been speaking to me about it. Everything made by us will last in excess of 10 years.”

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