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Leicestershire, Hinckley, Coventry, Meriden, Triumph company

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More than 100 firefighters battled through the night to put out a massive fire which destroyed large parts of a world-famous Triumph factory. But they managed to save half of the motorcycle plant at Hinckley and were still there this afternoon.The fire started at the Jacknal Road factory at 8.40pm yesterday. None of the 350 staff were at work at the time. Leicestershire senior divisional fire officer Steve Pinsent, said: We will at least be here for the rest of the day damping down. "The fire centred around the assembly line and the storage area, which were destroyed. Obviously there would have been a lot of expensive equipment in the store room. "We managed to put blocks up to save the office area and the machinery that the parts are made with. There were no workers here at the time of the fire." It is not yet known what started the fire and bosses at the firm are still assessing the damage and and what it means for production. Workers turned up for shifts this morning but were sent home. Firefighters said they managed to save 50 per cent of the factory and headquarters. The company's newer plant nearby was not affected. At the height of the blaze, at midnight, there were 20 fire crews battling with the flames and water was having to be relayed from the Ashby Canal to cope with the flames. Crews were also drafted in from Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, Nuneaton and Atherstone to help the exhausted Leicestershire crews.A spokesman for Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Two crews from Hinckley were initially sent but they called for back-up."But there was a further request for assistance and by 11pm, there were 20 appliances there, along with three aerial ladder platforms, the incident command unit, the incident support unit and the 14,000 litre water carrier."These were being manned by 120 firefighters, using eight jets, three fixed water monitors and three aerial monitors."A tremendous effort by the fire crews meant that 50 per cent of the factory was saved, along with all of the expensive machining equipment, which was protected by hand jets and aerial monitors."By 2am the fire was under control and exhausted fire crews were gradually released from the scene.Final crews used jets to extinguish pockets of fire still springing up using water from the Ashby Canal.The spokesman added: "At the height of the fire virtually the whole of Leicestershire fire service was there, and we also had help from Nuneaton and Atherstone. "It is not yet known how the fire started and it could be some time before that is established."From the back streets of Coventry to HollywoodTriumph's history in Coventry dates back to 1889 when founder Siegfried Bettman opened his cycle factory in the city's Much Park Street.A century ago, in 1902, Coventry had become the centre of Britain's motorcycle trade when the first model T came off the production line and by 1909 the factory was producing 3,000 bikes-a-year.From 1915 to 1918, the company concentrated production on the Allied war effort, giving 30,000 bikes to British and Allied forces, prompting frontline troops to call them "Trusty Triumphs".However, the Coventry Blitz in 1940 put paid to motorcycle production in the city centre and operations moved to a new site near Meriden.During the British industry's golden age of the 50s and 60s, Triumph bikes like the Thunderbird, Bonneville and Tiger 100s, were given Hollywood status by brooding screen legends like Steve McQueen, Marlon Brando and Clint Eastwood.By the time the Meriden Co-operative was formed in 1975, the Japanese had brought the British motorcycle industry to its knees, with Britain's share of the bike market being slashed from 66 per cent to 14 per cent. In 1983 the Meriden Co-operative went into receivership, but a year after their collapse the Triumph Motor Cycle Co-operative in Devon restarted production of the Triumph 750.In 1984 the new Triumph company was founded by English entrepreneur John Bloor. Four years later he bought a 10-acre site down the M69 in Hinckley to build the new factory.In September 1990 the company launched the first of six new models at the Cologne motor cycle show.In 2002, its centenary year, the company is enjoying success on both sides of the Atlantic. 15th March 2002"

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Color Color
Keywords 2000s,Blaze,Factory,Fire,Fire Engine,Hinckley,Logo,Motor Cycle Industry
Credit Mirrorpix / GIW Photos
Year 1889
Model Released No
Property Released No

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