Teenage girl released without charge over Westwood unit fire

The Westwood fire Photo John Horton

A 13-year-old girl from Margate will not be charged following her arrest in connection with a 25-day blaze at a Westwood Industrial Estate unit.

Fire crews were called to the former Hilger Analytical unit after 16,000 bales of illegally stored household waste caught fire on September 15.

At the height of the inferno 14 fire engines and 80 firefighters were at the scene. Northdown Primary was closed due to “unsafe carbon monoxide readings,” and there were reports of Thanet children complaining of health problems including chest infections and asthma attacks.

The Westwood industrial unit blaze Image Simon Moores

Firefighters remained at the site for three weeks as the two-tonne bales, tightly wrapped in plastic, continued to smoulder.

Neighbouring businesses, including fitness centre CrossFit, were forced to close as the fumes continued to pollute the air.

A boy and two girls, all aged 12 from Margate, and a 13-year-old girl from Margate were arrested on suspicion of arson on September 23. They were released pending further investigation.

Kent Police have confirmed no charges will be made against the 13-year-old girl. The investigation is ongoing.

Photo Frank Leppard

The site owner Conservation Property Holdings, registered in the British Virgin Islands and business rate holder DW Lands are yet to clear the site.

An Environment Agency investigation into the illegally stored waste is also ongoing.


  1. Disgusting, this child caused so much damage but seems to have no punishment, what is the country coming too.
    What are they going to do about it ?

  2. You need to blame the people responsible for storing such waste in a derelict factory site warehouse, then the authorities who still haven’t even done much in getting it shifted and they knew about the dangers before it was lit. Ok, those kids shouldn’t have been playing there and setting light to it but you know what kids are like! No, I blame the operator who has been paid to destroy the waste but just used that warehouse as a dumping site, probably doing it elsewhere too for all we know, then the owner for not taking overall responsibility for their site and getting it cleared up. Send the bills for 3 weeks of Kent Fire & Rescue to them along with all others, and take them to the cleaners (excuse the pun) if they are not playing ball, which they obviously aren’t.

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