Four EJ Shanley’s staff worked through searing heat and raging flames to help firefighters extinguish Saturday’s blaze, with temperatures hot enough to melt solid steel.

Managing director Paul Shanley and three of his staff worked non-stop to use the firm’s diggers to clear the burning scrap, to allow access for fire crews.

He said: “It was scary; the flames were raging but all our staff were absolutely tremendous.

"Even the fire officers commended them for how well they reacted.”

The machinery at the scrapyard was already switched off when the fire broke out, but the site is currently without power as engineers work to get things up and running again.

At its peak the fire reached over 3,000 degrees, enough to melt much of the yard’s 400 tonnes of metal beyond all recognition.

Firefighters suspended their planned strike action to help at the yard.

Mr Shanley said: “They were outstanding.

“They kept us completely informed throughout, and they were checking the lads for medical stops every 15 minutes for emissions.

“The people we trade with have been absolutely tremendous as well. They offered to bring machinery down to help us out.

“However once we got it all into the corner it was just a case of letting it burn.

“This is great weather to have this in, as there is no rain to wash things into the road, so it’s really positive from an environmental point of view.

“The smoke went straight up as there was no wind, and a lot of what went up was actually steam from the cold water hitting the hot metal, especially on the Sunday.”

Despite continuing with business as usual in the short term, the future of the firm, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next April, is less certain.

Mr Shanley said: “We’re looking to move out of Trowbridge. That was our plan, but as of yet we are not sure about timescales.

“We employ 40 people, they are all local, and quite a number live on the Seymour Estate.

“We are a family company and we see our employees as one big family.”