AN AEROSOL factory has been fined over a massive fire that led to part of an industrial estate being evacuated.

Explosions shook Pocklington Industrial Estate and thick black smoke could be seen from some distance around as the flames gutted LMA Services's building.

LMA Services Ltd, of Halifax Way, Pocklington Industrial Estate, appeared before Leeds Magistrates Court where it admitted safety breaches involving explosive liquids in connection with the fire.

It was ordered to pay a total of £16,377 with a £14,000 fine and £2,377 prosecution costs.

A spokesman for Health and Safety Executive, which brought the prosecution, said a spark from electrical weighing scales started the fire as heptane, a highly flammable liquid, was being decanted from a bulk storage container into 4-litre metal cans.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Dave Stewart said: “The risks associated with the decanting operation were not fully understood by the company.

"There were potential ignition sources present within the area where a flammable vapour was likely to occur.

“This case highlights the importance of assessing risks associated with flammable atmospheres.

"Employers should ensure that adequate measures are taken to reduce the formation of flammable atmospheres so far as is reasonably practicable, and to ensure that only suitable electrical equipment is used in areas where a flammable atmosphere may be present.”

Nearly a full workforce from the company's 32 staff were at work when the fire broke out at about 4.50pm on June 30, 2016.

An HSE spokesman said the worker decanting the liquid dropped the can he was filling when the fire broke out.

He left the warehouse quickly and raised the alarm. The fire spread quickly and destroyed the warehouse, the adjacent warehouse and an external storage area between the two, the spokesman said.

During the fire, nearby businesses were evacuated and the emergency services set up road blocks to prevent people going onto the site.

Fifty firefighters led by Humberside Fire and Rescue fought the blaze.

After it was extinguished, the company owner Fraser Todd said no-one had been injured in the fire.