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Fire-hit Cornish pasty makers on road to recovery

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 18, 2014

Production at the WC Rowe bakery in Falmouth should resume next month

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WORK has begun on an £1.8 million rebuild of a Cornish bakery destroyed by fire last month.

Eight fire crews from across Cornwall fought the blaze at the WC Rowe factory at Bickland Industrial Park, Falmouth on July 19.

The company, which makes around 150,000 pasties a week, marks its 65th anniversary in business this year.

Now, specialist engineers at Plymouth-based TaylorRose have been contracted to restore the 60metre-by-40metre building, expected to be operational again by the end of September.

WC Rowe has been operating from a factory in Penryn to continue making Cornish pasties.

But production of pasties with different flavour fillings have been put on hold.

Paul Pearce, WC Rowe director of marketing, said: “It hasn’t been ideal and we haven’t been at full production by any stretch but we have been able to stay operational.

“Some processing has continued at the Falmouth factory because the fire was contained to a small area at the back of the building, but damage was caused to the roof, building services, and holding freezer. After closer inspection by specialist teams, this damage is more complicated than we originally thought.

“All our staff affected by the fire, have been redeployed and we currently have production of our Cornish Pasties at Penryn.

“We have been so grateful for all the support we have received locally, from suppliers and customers.

“So may livelihoods are dependent on the company and we are so pleased they have stood by us.”

Rob Cuffe, TaylorRose managing director was involved in the original factory construction and was called onsite the night of the fire.

He said: “We were involved in immediately making the building safe and now we have been awarded the contract to bring full production back into Falmouth.

“There has been serious damage especially to the void space and the roof. We have now taken over the factory and intend to have it operational as soon as we can.”

TaylorRose is an engineering firm that specialises in food and drink production and processing industries.

It has a turnover of £3million a year and has recently completed large projects with Kerry Foods in Lincolnshire and Dorset, Morrisons in Northampton and a factory for US firm McCormicks in Rochdale.

Mr Cuffe said the firm is currently employing 20 contractors at the WC Rowe site and intends to restore operations by early October with further outside work completed by the end of the year.

He said: “We are one of two companies in the country that are able to undertake a project like this and that’s because we are not only engineers who can build the factory but design, install and modify the processing equipment within it.”

He said that the build will employ local labour with some specialists from further afield.

He said: “It is very important to support our local trades.

“We have worked with WC Rowe on various projects for the last 10 years.

“This is a huge project but it is a shame that it has come as a result of their misfortune but we are passionate in our loyalty to them and intend to get the job done as quickly as possible.”

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