Chipboard manufacturer Sonae UK is assessing the cost of fire damage suffered at its Challenger plant, Merseyside.

The fire, which started in the early hours of September 1, damaged cladding and the roof of a building used to store bark for boiler fuel. The main manufacturing facility was undamaged.

A dozen fire crews, including aerial units, took about two hours to bring the flames under control. Staff were evacuated but no injuries were reported.

Chipboard production was disrupted for about 15 hours following the fire. Other production was not affected.

Early reports suggested the fire may have been started by a dust explosion which ignited sawdust but Sonae director Frank McGinty said a fire service investigation, now under way, would discover the causes.

He said the company is consulting loss adjusters to ascertain the cost of the damage.