This story was updated at 10.31am.

AN independent High Wycombe furniture factory was hit by a “severe” blaze last night – but the owner declared it was still open for business.

A new £500,000 thermal imaging camera helped firefighters, who were at the Stewart Linford factory in Kitchener Road, High Wycombe, until midnight, to find then extinguish the fire.

The damage was restricted to a tin 'hopper' and a store room roof at the back of the building.

Crews from High Wycombe and Beaconsfield attended after a call from a member of the public at about 9.40pm. They reported seeing smoke coming from the roof.

High Wycombe crew manager Graham Danbury said: “On arrival we found smoke logging and a severe fire at the rear of the factory building in a 'hopper' system, which takes all the sawdust from the factory.

“That was well alight outside the back.

“It was filling the building with smoke, the sprinklers activated but the fire at the rear was too severe for it to put it out.

“The building was well alight when we got there.

"The hopper, which was large was completely destroyed, a building next to it, the roof has been destroyed. But inside it was just severe smoke logging.”

Fans were used to extract smoke and no major damage was done to items inside.

Stewart Linford, owner of the firm which has been in High Wycombe since 1983, said:

“It could have affected us if we'd let it get to us but we've got that kind of Churchillian spirit to get on with it.

“Fortunately the firefighters did a brilliant job, were here quickly and in force, they got it under control.

"I must praise them for their excellent work.”

He told the BFP: “It's a bit smoky inside but the factory itself is okay.

"One of the big machines is out of action but we hope we can get it fixed soon.

"We're working hard to get back on top of it because we have a lot of work on and a lot of customers to satisfy.

“We've got a whole team working to get back into normal action so it shouldn't affect customers too much, we're still taking orders for Christmas, obviously important this time of year.

“The important message is we're still in business, we've still got 25 craftsmen here, we're the last of the furniture makers in High Wycombe.”

The fire crews were helped by using a new remote camera, which goes up on the cage of their turntable ladder.

They were able to view the building from above and look down for 'hotspots', showing where the blaze was happening.

Crew Manager Danbury labelled it as a “phenomenal piece of kit”.

“That detected exactly where the fire was and how far it had spread before we could gain access to it,” he said.

“It came into its own last night.”

The cause is unknown but could be electrical.

Mr Linford said he believes there may have been something smouldering in the tin hopper.

Four fire engines attended.