Council gave wood flour mill all-clear over dust levels as missing victims named as William Barks, Dorothy Bailey, Jason Shingler and Derek Moore
By Isabelle Fraser12:30PM BST 19 Jul 2015
A Cheshire factory destroyed by explosions was given the all-clear by council officials over dangerous dust levels a fortnight ago, it has emerged.
Four people remain missing after Friday’s blasts and fire at the wood mill in Bosley, and were named on Sunday by police as William Barks, 51, Dorothy Bailey, 62, Jason Shingler, 38, and 62-year-old Derek Moore.
Cheshire East Council said it had received complaints about the dust at the mill, but enforcement officers were on scene two weeks ago and were satisfied at the clean-up. It has also emerged there were two fires at the site in 2010 and 2012.
More detail emerged on Sunday about the four people still missing inside the destroyed wood mill. Dorothy Bailey lives in the cottages next the site, which were badly damaged in the explosion.
She has three sons, two of whom – Christopher and Edward – also work in the mill. She is divorced.
She is part of a large family – with five brothers and two sisters.
Ms Bailey works in the mill using a machine to clean up the large amounts of dust that accumulated using a big vacuum cleaner, and had that job for more than two years. Previously she worked as a cleaner in the mill.
Yesterday, her brother Philip said: “She would not hurt anyone. She was really pleased to get that job.”
“She was very kind, very honourable and very straight. She spoke her mind.”
Jason Shingler lives in nearby Congleton with his partner Nicola Webb. His Facebook account suggests that he is a fan of motor sports.
William Barks lives in Cheddleton near Leek, with his partner Deborah.
Cheshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive will take over the scene from the fire service in a few days to establish what happened.
Paul Hancock, from Cheshire Fire Service, said that the scene was “one of complete devastation” and said crews were working through the night.
He also said that search and rescue teams were concentrating on two locations in a “systematic and methodical way”, identified by witness statements and by using sniffer dogs.
Mr Hancock said: “At this moment in time we have not been able to locate anybody, but we firmly believe we are searching the right areas. Our thoughts continue to be with the family.
“The whole mental psyche of the crews down at the site is they are looking for people still alive. They will not give up hope until they locate these four individuals.”
Guy Hindle, assistant chief constable of Cheshire Police confirmed the names and said the search for them still continues more than 48 hours after the initial blast.
He said: “We are still in search phase, we are still looking for signs of life down at the scene.”
A church service was held in the village on Sunday morning for the families of those still missing.
Reverend Pam Butler, whose Methodist chapel is next to the now-destroyed mill, said: “Our hearts go out to the people who were there.
“People, it’s fair to say, are feeling angry as well as (having an) overwhelming feeling of sadness.”
The Rev John Harries, vicar of Bosley’s parish church, said: “Four people are missing, four are in hospital. Others are experiencing breathing difficulties, and still others are just suffering from the trauma, still seeing the flames in the sky.
“Homes have been destroyed, families are distraught, and the community is in deep distress. We are in shock, we are broken and distraught.”