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Eight injured in explosion at firm

Eight people have been injured after an explosion at an industrial estate, emergency services said.

Witnesses described hearing a loud bang on the Hobbs Industrial Estate in Newchapel, near Lingfield, Surrey, before a large fire broke out. Firefighters are still battling to control the blaze.

A spokesman for the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance said they were called to the scene of the explosion just after 11.20am.

The casualties were taken to three hospitals - two by air ambulance. A spokeswoman for South East Coast Ambulance Service said their injuries range from "less serious to far more serious".

In a joint statement, Surrey Police, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service and the South East Coast Ambulance Service urged anyone living near the site to close their windows and asked members of the public to stay away from the area.

The statement said 12 fire engines were sent to the scene, and that fire crews were "faced with a serious and escalating fire". It added: "Police, fire and ambulance services are working hard to bring the incident under control in what are difficult circumstances. In addition local NHS services are responding well."

An insurance assessor at the scene, who declined to be named, said the premises where the fire broke out belong to a firm called eReco EMEA, which deals with IT and electrical recycling.

Ian Thomson, of Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, said all those in the building at the time of the blaze had been accounted for. The cause of the fire was under investigation and police and fire officials refused to be drawn on whether it was suspicious or what might be responsible.

Mr Thomson said around 60 firefighters who tackled the blaze were faced with a "serious and rapidly escalating fire" at the building, which is split into five smaller units.

The fire broke out in the middle unit before spreading to the entire building, Mr Thomson told reporters at a cordon at the entrance to the industrial estate.

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