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Forgemasters start back at work

28 June 2007

Sheffield Forgemasters is back up and running.

The company, which suffered devastating damage in the flash flooding in the city earlier this week, has resumed partial work.

Despite being under six foot of water four days ago, first production has started and almost all the 700 employees are now back on site.

Several of the huge furnaces at the Brightside Lane site have been relit and bar finishing and roll manufacture have now begun.

The company hopes to be forging again by Friday and using the melt shop next week. All areas are expected to be back in normal production within a fortnight to three weeks.

Chief executive Graham Honeyman and company director Peter Birtles, who were among the 30 staff who were trapped overnight at the base on Monday night, have been instrumental in the swift clean up operation and thanked staff for their tremendous efforts over this difficult period.

Peter said: “The cleanup and repair programme, whilst very costly, is proceeding very well and is ahead of our most optimistic schedules.

“The incredible hard work and commitment of our staff and workforce is bearing great fruit and will be rewarded.

“And the indulgence and understanding of our customers has been greatly appreciated.”

Sheffield City Council chief executive Bob Kerslake, Clive Betts MP and David Blunkett MP and leading figures from the Environment Agency, local police and local fire service chiefs visited the site yesterday (Wednesday).

Peter added: “Their support and encouragement was a great boost to the efforts of the management.”

Since the waters subsided the management has assessed the full extent of the damage which they initially believe will total around £15m to correct. Employees have been busy washing down and drying equipment and draining pits, restoring power supplies and carrying out extensive repairs over the last couple of days.

Peter added that the strength of feeling for the historic Sheffield company had shone though over the last four days.

“We have been extremely impressed and overwhelmed by the general feeling of warmth towards the company during this difficult period and are extremely grateful to everyone who has expressed concern about the business. It seems Forgemasters has a special place in many people’s hearts.” he said.