THE managing director of a Kidderminster company hit by a factory fire says it is too early to count the cost of the damage but added it would be “substantial”.

A large blaze at one of two units belonging to Hard Anodising on the Firs Industrial Estate started before 8am this morning.

It was tackled by eight fire appliances, as well support units including the EPU (Environmental Protection Unit) from Evesham, the CSU (Command Support Unit) from Malvern and USAR (Urban Search and Rescue).

Phil Bayliss, managing director of the metal treatment firm, said they had no idea what caused the fire but he ruled out any foul play.

He added: “It was fine when people came in this morning but when they started switching on the plant, within a matter of minutes there was a fire.”

He explained that the three or four staff members involved were evacuated immediately from the Oldington Lane factory unit and no-one was injured.

Mr Bayliss said the company’s safeguards to protect the public and the environment from any possible contamination from chemicals used at the factory had proved effective.

He added, however, that the fire-hit factory unit would be shut down for an indeterminate amount of time while they started to “rebuild and repair”.

He explained: “I have no idea how long it will take to get back on our feet. It is too early at the moment to say how much it will cost but it will be a substantial amount.”

Hard Anodising has been trading in Kidderminster since 1970 and on the Firs Industrial Estate since 1975 and employs 30 people.

Mr Bayliss said: “We are very flexible and can move people around so, hopefully, there will not be any job losses.”