Construction boss left ‘devastated’ after dawn blaze rips through fleet


A “devastated” construction boss said his company will be “back better than ever” after a fire ripped through his fleet at the weekend. 

Credit: SoilEx.

Alex Collman, managing director at SoilEx, praised his staff and customers for their resilience and support in the wake of “a targeted attack” in the early hours of Sunday morning (9 July). 

SoilEx, a construction waste management service with offices in Harpenden (Herts) and a lorry depot near Leighton Buzzard (Beds), lost four almost new Volvo FMX tipper trucks in the dawn blaze, collectively costing the firm more than £500,000. 

Writing on LinkedIn, Collman asked: “Is this really the way things are still done? It’s 2023 in The Home Counties, not 1920s New York.” 

Not far from SoilEx, in Maple Cross, family-run waste management company Bulk Transfer Limited (BTL) also said it had suffered an early morning blaze on Sunday, in which three tipper trucks were lost.  

Writing on LinkedIn, BTL said despite a “horrible start to a new week”, it wanted to thank customers, suppliers and friends for the support it had received. Adding: “Onwards and upwards.” 

In Collman’s social media post, he wrote: “At SoilEx we have strived to do things well. Our aim is to be the best – not the biggest – but the best. We aren’t there yet, but it seems as if our efforts have had both positive and negative ramifications.

“The positives: our brilliant team and many great customers who now back us to help their businesses succeed. I am so proud to have both.

“The negatives: well…this. Clearly a targeted attack in the early hours of Sunday morning. The hard work of our team quite literally going up in smoke. Four new tipper trucks gone.”

He added: “I am genuinely devastated for the team. But true to who they are, they had Monday’s work covered whilst the ashes of the trucks were still smouldering.

“Out of a horrible situation there have come so many positives, including the support of some brilliant customers, suppliers, friends and competitors. A bump in the road for sure, but we’ll be back better than ever.” 

Speaking to Construction Wave, Collman said: “Four one-year-old Volvo FMX tipper trucks were burnt out and written off, and at the time their market value was well in excess of half a million pounds.  

“We are awaiting the insurance assessors visit next week and once we have settled the insurance will look to replace them like for like, however the new finance will be far more expensive now so we may have to look at slightly older replacements.  

“In the interim, we have hire trucks coming in on Monday (17 July) and we will be back on the road working our drivers and servicing our customers.” 

Collman said the firm had used sub-contracted haulage to continue work in the meantime.  

A Thames Valley Police spokesperson said: “Officers attended the scene of a fire at a depot in Stewkley Road, where four HGV’s were on fire. The lorries were destroyed by the fire. Officers are working with Bucks Fire and Rescue Service to ascertain the cause of the fire and enquiries are ongoing. The fire happened overnight on Sunday.”

Bucks Fire & Rescue said: “Two appliances and crews from West Ashland, one from Bedfordshire, and one from Broughton attended, along with two officers. Four lorries were well alight when they arrived. The lorries were all 100 per cent damaged by fire. Thames Valley Police also attended.” 

Hertfordshire Constabulary, and Bedfordshire Constabulary were approached for comment.  

Hertfordshire Fire Service, and Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue, were also approached for comment. 

Anyone with information can contact police online or via 101. In an emergency always call 999. 

You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit https://crimestoppers-uk.org/ 

If you would like to support either or both firms, you can find them in the links below: 



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