'Huge' inferno rips through car compound near Potters Bar

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 November 2016

The blaze at Lantern Recovery Compound. Picture credit: Potters Bar Fire Station.

The blaze at Lantern Recovery Compound. Picture credit: Potters Bar Fire Station.

Archant

A man has been charged after an inferno ripped through a car compound near Potters Bar and "devastated" nearly 50 vehicles.

Eight pumps and 45 firefighters tackled the 30ft-high blaze at Lantern Recovery Compound, South Mimms, which took nearly five hours to extinguish.

Firefighter Barry Mellor said: “There was quite a number of explosions from things like tyres and magnesium, causing little bangs and pops. But it was more the heat than anything.

“It was quite intense, and was catching cars alight quite quickly.”

A Potters Bar fire spokesman said: “It was a huge fire. When they turned up multiple cars were alight and 40-odd were on fire at the end. Obviously a fire like that spreads rapidly with lack of water.”

The compound operates all night, and looks after customers’ cars before transporting them.

Following the incident in the early hours of Sunday, November 6, Lantern Recovery customer service manager Tony Harrington told the Potters Bar Edition: “The staff are pretty horrified about it.

“You don’t want to be in the position where you think you are going to be attacked if that’s what it is.

“The whole thing is something you watch on television or read in a novel. It’s something you never think is going to happen to you.”

He said affected vehicles ranged from Ford Fiestas to Mercedes, all of which had been left as “rusting pieces of metal”.

“All the wheels, tyres, paints, bonnets, interior, they are all just burnt out shells all in a line,” he added.

A police spokeswoman confirmed Jack Healy, 21, of Ashwood Drive, Chesham, has been charged with arson with intent to endanger life. He has been remanded in custody and will appear at St Albans Crown Court on December 9.

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