HOMES were evacuated and residents advised to secure windows after a smoke plume more than 200ft high drifted over Crewe from a commercial greenhouse fire on Monday.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service do not believe the large blaze that gutted buildings at Hutchins Horticultural Supplies in Herbert Street was started deliberately.

Crews from across the region were called to the incident at 2.21pm on January 27.

At its peak, five fire engines from Crewe, Sandbach, Holmes Chapel and Middlewich fought back the flames.

The police and fire service issued alerts advising residents five and a half miles away in Sandbach to keep their windows and doors shut as a smoke plume visible from Staffordshire drifted north east.

Reader Jason Pendlebury captured this footabe from a London to Manchester train while passing through Cheshire:


Some houses were left without power until 11pm.

At 3pm, neighbouring properties were evacuated and crews had set up water curtains to prevent the fire spreading.

An hour after the first 999 call, the fire was still giving off thick plumes of black smoke.

Police closed Sydney Road at its junction with Lansdowne Road and Wheatley Road and three more fire engines were called to assist.

At 4pm, Manweb shut off power to a number of homes in Herbert Street and Foxholme Court, whose residents were advised to go to a rally point at the Sydney Arms Pub and await further information.

Road closures were lifted at 5.30pm, while a police cordon remained in place in Herbert Street.

Crews worked with engineers from Scottish Power to make safe the telegraph pole and transformer on the site.

At 8.20am the following morning, one fire engine remained at the scene damping down using a ground monitor jet and hose reel.