§ Mr. ENTWISTLE
asked the Home Secretary whether any report has yet been made as to the cause of the fire which recently took place at the premises of Messrs. Forbes, Abbott and Lennard; and, if so, whether he is in a position to make a statement as to the cause of such fire?
§ Sir JOHN GILMOUR
I have now received a report on the investigations, from which it is clear that the fire was due to a workman cutting with a blowpipe flame a scrap-iron plate situated just outside the wall of a building containing waste material for creating smokescreens. The works' foreman told the workman, who was employed by a contractor, that some of the material inside the building was dangerous, but it does not appear to have been sufficiently realised that the flame or molten metal might penetrate through or under the corrugated iron roof into the building and ignite the material, and this is evidently 2421W what occurred. Fortunately only one person was slightly burnt. I am advised that the circumstances were quite exceptional and do not suggest any particular precautions—they illustrate merely the danger of having sources of intense heat near inflammable material; but it has been arranged to include particulars of this case in the next issue of the series of abstracts from reports of industrial accidents which are published by the Home Office for the information of factory occupiers and others. Previous fires at these works have been referred to. I am informed that such fires occurred in May, 1929, and July, 1930, one man being fatally injured in the former case and no one injured in the other, but that these fires were in a different part of the works and due to quite different causes, namely, certain defects in the design of the plant for which no blame could reasonably be attached and which were afterwards remedied.