A MAN was rushed to hospital with burns to his head and neck after an explosion in a malt factory in Witham this morning that eye witnesses described as “a fireball”.
The incident happened at around 3am at the Bairds Malt factory in Station Maltings, Witham.
A 67-year-old suffered burns and received first aid at the scene from firefighters before being taken to Bloomfield Hospital.
Chris Cook, 27, of Braintree Road, Witham, lives next to the factory and was awake at home when the explosion happened.
He said: “It was pretty crazy, I was watching Arnold Schwarzenegger’s greatest quotes on YouTube, then there was this going on outside my window.
“The whole flat shook from the force of it and I could see a fireball from my window that went up about 30 feet into the air.
“My girlfriend was asleep and I woke her and said ‘we need to get out of here’, as we live between the malt factory and a petrol station so it’s quite a combustible area of town.
“When we got downstairs we realised it was contained in the malt factory and I made the 999 call.”
Essex Fire Service said it was “a dust explosion in a malt drying vessel” and confirmed an investigation has been launched into the cause of the explosion.
Bairds Malt Ltd’s history goes back to 1823 and at the Witham roasting plant staff test and analyse the brewing and distilling of hops and malts.