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Firefighters tackle blaze at luxury carpet factory

Around 25 firefighters tackled blaze at Axminster Carpets in Devon
Around 25 firefighters tackled blaze at Axminster Carpets in Devon Credit: ITV News West Country

Three people were treated in hospital yesterday (Tues) when a fire broke out at Britain's most famous carpet makers.

Around 25 firefighters battled the blaze at Axminster Carpets which has been weaving rugs for expensive hotels and royal residences since 1755.

The flames erupted on the ground floor of the firm's Devon HQ and several workers were rushed to hospital.

Axminster Carpets went into administration in March last year and 300 people lost their jobs.

However a consortium bought the company out and hired new workers after securing lucrative new orders.

They included making carpets for the US House of Representatives and a hotel owned by Donald Trump.

"The cause of the fire alarm activation was a fire which had broken out in one area of the plant.

"The cause is not yet known and will be investigated with the fire officer as soon as access is granted into the affected area.

"All staff were immediately evacuated from the site as soon as the alarm sounded.

"Three members of staff were taken to hospital, one suffered from a minor burn to his hand and the other two were checked for smoke inhalation as a precautionary measure.

"All three have been discharged from hospital."

– Axminster Carpets spokeperson

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Devon smoker quits after 50 years

Former smoker Ann Veit (centre)
Ann Veit finally managed to quit thanks to a stop smoking clinic at Axminster Medical Practice Credit: Northern Devon Healthcare Trust

PENSIONER FINALLY QUITS SMOKING

By Claire Hayhurst, Press Association

A pensioner has finally kicked her 50-year-long smoking habit - after lighting up 750,000 cigarettes.

Ann Veit, 68, from Musbury, near Axminster in Devon, smoked around 40 cigarettes each day from the age of 15.

She attempted to quit smoking three times over the 50-year-period, trying hypnosis, acupuncture and patches.

However, the retired information systems manager eventually managed to give up in March, after attending a weekly NHS stop smoking clinic. She is being supported to quit with the use of patches and an inhaler.

Mrs Veit, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, has already seen significant improvement in the function of her lungs.

Carbon monoxide levels in her blood reduced from 26 parts per million (ppm) to just three in one week - the same levels as a non-smoker.

After a serious bout of pneumonia, which left me in hospital, I realised I must stop or I wouldn't last long.

Breathing is easier, I've got more energy, my self-esteem has improved and I no longer feel like a pariah.

I can also see the financial benefits - I've got more money in my purse at the end of the week.

It is hard, but never quit quitting. If I can do it after 50-odd years, there is hope for everyone.

– Ann Veit, Former smoker

The clinics are run at Axminster Medical Practice every Friday, along with three sessions a week in Honiton, Devon.

Serious accident at Axminster

Two people have been seriously injured in a road crash in Axminster.

Bristol Air Ambulance has taken one casualty to Frenchay Hospital.

It happened on the B3261 between the A35 and Axminster, at around 7.45am today.

The road is closed from the off-slip on the A35 and the start of the B3261, to the end of Axminster roundabout near the train station.

A35 Charmouth closed due to serious accident

The A35 in Dorset is closed due to a serious accident this afternoon involving three vehicles between A3052 (Charmouth) and B3165 (Axminster).

It happened by the Hunters Lodge Inn and is causing big delays in the area. Police say the road is likely to be closed for some time.

A diversion is in place via Bridport, Crewkerne, Chard and Axminster. Westbound traffic should follow the hollow black square, eastbound should follow the solid black square.

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Deal struck to save Axminster Carpets

A rescue deal has been done to save Axminster Carpets from collapse.

A consortium, including Centric Commercial Finance Ltd and led by private investor Stephen Boyd, has taken over the business from administrators.

The company confirmed that the remaining 100 employees at Axminster will keep their jobs. The two outlet stores are also secure and have been transferred to the new company.

The Devon firm went into administration in March, leading to the loss of three hundred jobs.

The newly formed business, now called "Axminster Carpets (2013) Ltd" will involve many of the senior management team and will begin trading on Monday 8th April 2013.

Axminster Carpets Credit: ITV Westcountry
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