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Third body found at site of wood flour mill blasts with families set to visit

Published 23/07/2015

The scene of the explosion and fire at Wood Flour Mills, Bosley
The scene of the explosion and fire at Wood Flour Mills, Bosley

A third body has been found at the wood flour mill destroyed in a huge explosion last week.

Cheshire Police said the discovery at the Wood Treatment Limited plant in the village of Bosley followed the removal of three silos yesterday.

A spokesman said: " This has directly allowed the search and recovery operation to continue work at a section of the site indicated previously by search dogs. This has led to the discovery of a third body."

The news came as the families of the four people killed in the blast were expected to visit the site and pay their respects.

Relatives of William Barks, 51, Dorothy Bailey, 62, Jason Shingler, 38, and Derek Moore, 62, were expected at the scene later today.

Assistant Chief Constable Guy Hindle, from Cheshire Police, said: "For their own reasons (the families) would like to see the level of activity ... to search for the missing people, and also to pay their respects and understand the nature of the scene.

"That'll be a difficult time for them all."

A joint investigation is under way involving police, fire and the Health & Safety Executive to establish the cause of the incident.

Kelvin Barks said yesterday his brother had spoken of "a disaster waiting to happen" at the mill.

He said: "It's taken his life before he had the chance to get out. He had bills to pay. He wanted to get out. He'd been trying to get out, to get another job. I think his age worked against him.

"His wife and son are distraught by what's gone on. We feel as a family that it's got to be every last stone (that) has got to be unturned and find out what's gone on because in my eyes if this place was deemed safe by Cheshire Council two weeks ago I don't know what's going on. Me going down there, in May, you would not have passed it."

Paying tribute, he added: "He was very much my hero. He inspired me to do well in life. He was an unbelievable guy. So knowledgeable. He could make anything. He could turn a pig's ear into a silk purse in that respect. He was very well respected by everybody."

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.

The second body recovered on Tuesday is "probably" that of Dorothy Bailey, police said.

A spokeswoman for Cheshire Police said: "Formal identification has not been made but, based on the information available to the coroner, indications are that it is probably that of Dorothy Bailey aged 62. However, further forensic tests are required to corroborate the identification.

"Mrs Bailey's family have been fully updated on this development and the family liaison officers of all those affected continue to work with them to offer them all the advice and support they need during what is a very difficult time."

Families of the four missing workers gathered at Bosley Methodist Church briefly before their visit to the explosion scene. The chapel is within the safety cordon and is just 100 metres from the wrecked mill.

Relatives were greeted by church vicar the Rev Pam Butler. Some carried bouquets of flowers inside.

A prayer service will take place at St Mary the Virgin Church in the village tomorrow, a week on from the tragedy, between 9am and 10am.

A prayer notice said it would be held "one week on from the explosion that rocked our community".

It continued: "It will be a chance for us to pray for our community and the families of those affected, an opportunity to share and support one another, and a time to reflect on the tragic events of the past week".

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