THE boss of a Dales haulage firm has vowed to soldier on after arsonists torched six of his lorries.
The blaze at Wirksworth firm, Milltech Haulage caused around £70,000 worth of damage.
The articulated lorries, part of the firm’s 14-strong fleet have been written off, along with the cargo the trailers were carrying, following the attack at the company’s yard, in Coldwell Street, in the early hours of Friday, April 8.
The operator suffered a second blow when diesel was siphoned from the trucks that had survived the attack on the evening of Saturday, 9 April.
Owner Greg Dukes said he will do everything possible to ensure the company survived.
Mr Dukes, who saved a seventh lorry from the blaze after rushing to the scene and driving it away from the fire, said: “A lot of work had gone in to those lorries. I’m not sure what we’ll do now.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw what had happened but I’m not going let it get me down.
“I won’t let them get to me, we’ll have to get through this.”
Transport manager Robert Tann added: “Where do we go from here? At the end of the day we now have contracts that we can’t do.”
Neighbours were woken by loud explosions as tyres burst and engines blow up during the blaze.
The water board, Environment Agency and police were also in attendance at the scene.
Chris Bristow, of Coldwell Street, said: “I was woken by loud bangs like fireworks at about 4am.
“I looked out of the window and all I could see was flames. They were 20 or 30 feet high with big billowing black smoke. Luckily it was blowing away from any houses.”
Derbyshire police say the incident was clearly an arson attack and investigations were continuing.
Det Sgt Tim Nye said the arsonists had targeted the lorries’ cabs and one of the fuel tanks.
He added: “We are appealing to anyone who was in the area at about 4am to come forward.
“We know a woman was seen taking photos immediately after the fire started and we would like her to contact us, as she could hold vital information.”
Anyone with information should call Matlock CID on 0345 123 3333.