'Firenado' sweeps across factory field in England

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It sounds like the setup for a bad punch line, but it's no joke: "Firenados" - also known as "fire whirls" - are very real, and one hit a town 120 miles north of London this week, officials said.

In the horrifying footage, the "firenado" is seen swirling as firefighters rushed to the scene.

Incredible footage of a "firenado" has been captured by firefighters while battling a huge inferno at a plastics factory.

"This sight is caused by intense heat rising from the ground, and turbulent wind conditions", officials from Leicestershire's fire department said on Twitter.

The fire at the Ravensbourn plastics factory, in Occupation Lane, in Woodville, began just after 1.40am on August 7 with 10 fire engines from three separate counties sent to tackle the blaze.

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The rare phenomenon is caused by "cool air entering the top of the hot air causing a swirl similar to how a tornado is formed".

That was not the only firenado firefighters encountered while fighting the blaze, the department sharing a second video on their Facebook page of yet another fire whirl they went up against.

Thick black smoke from thousands of plastic pallets on fire could be seen across the East Midlands.

Factory owners David Meredith, 74, and his son Russell, 36, said three members of staff were in the factory at the time of the blaze but they escape unharmed.

You can see the stunning force of nature in action above.

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