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Second body found in Bosley blast mill search

Published 21/07/2015

Derek Moore, one of four people feared dead after a mill explosion in Bosley, Cheshire (PA/Cheshire Police)
Derek Moore, one of four people feared dead after a mill explosion in Bosley, Cheshire (PA/Cheshire Police)
A fireman dampens down the scene of an explosion and fire at Wood Flour Mills in Bosley, Cheshire

A second body has been found in the search for missing workers feared killed when a blast ripped through a wood flour mill.

The victim's remains were recovered from the wreckage in the village of Bosley, Cheshire, where a 1,000C inferno reduced the four-storey building to rubble.

Fire and rescue teams have been working non-stop to find William Barks, 51, Dorothy Bailey, 62, Jason Shingler, 38, and Derek Moore, 62, since Friday's explosions and fire.

Another body had already been found but has not yet been formally identified.

A Cheshire Police spokesman said: "Sadly we can confirm that a second body has been found in the Bosley mill search.

"Our thoughts are with all those waiting for news of loved ones."

A Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: "Sadly it has been confirmed that a second body has been found at the scene. No formal identification has taken place.

"Efforts continue to locate those unaccounted for. A joint investigation is under way between police, fire and the Health and Safety Executive to establish the cause of the incident.

"All of our thoughts are with the families and friends of those caught up in this terrible incident."

Paul Hancock, Cheshire's chief fire officer, suggested yesterday that there was little hope of finding any survivors when he said officers were heading into a search and recovery phase rather than search and rescue.

He described the scene as one of "total devastation", with the focus on an area about five metres by five metres which was being excavated.

Guy Hindle, assistant chief constable of Cheshire Police, warned that establishing the cause of the blast would not be a quick task.

Three Health and Safety Executive (HSE) officers are working at police headquarters with the Cheshire Police major investigation team, he said.

The family of one of the missing workers said they were "very, very angry" at the alleged lack of sympathy from mill owners Wood Treatment Ltd, saying the firm had not been in touch with them after the blast.

Kelvin Barks, brother of William Barks, told ITV News: "My brother worked at that mill for 12 years. He's been missing for over three days now. In all that time nobody at the company has contacted us at all. No offer of support or sympathy or help."

The HSE served Wood Treatment Ltd with improvement notices two years ago in which it warned of a risk of an explosion or fire, although the company complied with the notice.

Enforcement officers from Cheshire East Council were on the site two weeks ago to make sure the firm cleared the area after complaints of sawdust. The site was also struck by two fires, in 2010 and 2012.

In a statement, the mill's bosses said they were "shocked and saddened" by the incident and offered its sympathies to those affected.

They said: "The mill has been part of the community in Bosley since 1927 and we take the safety of our employees extremely seriously.

"We are committed to establishing the cause of this incident and we will continue to co-operate fully with the emergency services and Health and Safety Executive."

Mr Hindle told reporters that the body found this morning had been removed and taken to the Royal Liverpool Hospital for identification.

Speaking at a joint press conference at the site, Mr Hancock said: "The search and rescue teams found the second person early this morning, approximately six metres below the first person that was discovered on Monday.

"The firefighters that form part of the search and rescue teams are now working inside the collapsed structure in what are even more demanding conditions than previously.

"They are in the process of stabilising the environment around where they are working to maintain their own safety but it is very challenging within those collapsed areas - lots of voids, lots of pockets are still burning and the more we excavate, the more we will be able to find and establish the other two individuals who are still sadly missing."

The chief fire officer said the second body was found about six metres below the first and excavations could still go four metres more beyond that.

There are 80 emergency services personnel still working on site, Mr Hancock added.

Cheshire Police released further details of the missing workers.

Mr Moore is from Stoke-on-Trent and is husband to Lynne, stepfather to Mark and brother to Linda, Ann and Darren.

Mother-of-three Ms Bailey is one of seven children and has five brothers and one sister.

Her family said she "is a loving mother to her sons Christopher, Matthew and Edward and a doting grandmother to her grandchildren".

She has lived in Bosley most of her life and only began working at the factory a short time ago.

Mr Shingler was brought up in nearby North Rode and has a large extended family. He has one sister and is "a loving son" to John and Angela. He lives with his girlfriend Nicky.

His family described him as "kind-hearted and someone who would do anything for anyone".

Mr Barks was born and bred in Leek, Staffordshire. He has been married for 31 "happy" years to Debbie. He has a brother and sister and is a loving father to Liam.

The statement added: "William enjoys building and restoring motorbikes and is a loving family man who lives a simple and happy life."

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