Food giant Craft gets £4m payout for Pontefract popcorn factory fire

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Confectionery giant Kraft Foods has won a £4 million interim payment at the High Court after a major fire destroyed a popcorn factory.

The Trebor Bassett plant in Pontefract, Yorkshire, burned down in a June 2005 fire possibly caused by only one piece of popcorn igniting.

Kraft Foods UK Confectionery Production Ltd, which now owns the Trebor Bassett brand, is pursuing fire safety firm, ADT Fire and Security Plc, for damages.

A fire detection system, designed by ADT and installed to protect the popcorn conveyor, failed to operate on the night of the blaze.

The court already ruled that Kraft is entitled to damages from ADT, reduced by 75 per cent after a finding of contributory negligence against the claimant.

In a hearing before Mr Justice Coulson at the Technology and Construction Court, the claimant asked for an interim payment on account of damages in the sum of £15 million.

It said that it was likely to win about £30 million when the case reaches trial on quantum.

Mr Justice Coulson said: “I consider that, as an irreducible minimum, even on the defendant’s analysis of quantum, I can be confident that the sum of £4 million would be recovered by the claimants in this litigation. I would therefore identify that as the sum to be paid on account by way of an interim payment.”

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