A body has been found in a search for four people missing after an explosion at a Cheshire wood mill on Friday, police said last night.
Emergency services were continuing to search through the wreckage of the mill as police named the four people feared dead.
William Barks, 51, Dorothy Bailey, 62, Jason Shingler, 38, and Derek Moore, 62, were missing after an explosion and 1,000 centigrade inferno ripped through the building. The body had not been identified last night.
Police and fire chiefs say fire and rescue teams have been working non-stop since the blast at 9.10am on Friday at the mill in the village of Bosley.
But fire chiefs concede that while they carry on the methodical search of the site, the chances of finding anyone alive are fading.
And yesterday it emerged that council officers had been on the site two weeks ago to supervise a clean-up.
Assistant Chief Constable of Cheshire Police, Guy Hindle, speaking before the body was discovered, said: “We are still in search phase, we are still looking for signs of life down at the scene.”
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hancock, added: “The whole mental psyche of the crews is they are looking for people still alive.
“The scene down there is one of complete devastation. We have a building that has exploded from the inside and subsequently collapsed in on itself.
“There are huge complexities around the challenges for the search and rescue teams – we are working close to a bank of six silos, three of which have fallen over in the explosion and the other three are still quite unstable.”
It has emerged that council enforcement officers 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. The leader of Cheshire East Council, Michael Jones, said: “We were on site two weeks ago clearing it up and they did well to clear it up.”
Police said they will be working in the next few days with the company, which has yet to make any statement about the incident.