Kodak and Epson have been forced to close their Hemel Hempstead offices following yesterday?s explosion at the Buncefield oil depot in Hertfordshire.

There are no reported injuries of staff from either of the companies? offices which in total employ more than 500 staff.

Kodak?s business centre was ?very close? to the explosions, according to a statement released by Kodak UK which added: ?We cannot confirm what damage has been done but at this stage we believe it will be impossible to use the building in the short term at least. Kodak is working on a unified plan to ensure business continuity over the coming weeks.?

Many Kodak employees – such as those in sales and marketing jobs – will work from home while others are expected to move to Kodak?s base in Harrow, Middlesex.

Fujifilm Electronic Imaging was also hit and, it has just been confirmed, damaged sustained. Though this is not part of Fuji?s photographic outfit it is part of the same company. Raheel Ashraf, a security guard working there when the explosions occurred told the Daily Mail: ?It was awful. It was like you were in Hell. The flames were as high as 200ft and kept rising.?

Epson UK spokesman Robert Forbes confirmed that its offices in Marylands Avenue were also damaged by the blasts, mainly involving broken glass. ?We can?t get near the place because the police have cordoned it off,? he told us.

Most of Epson UK?s 260 staff in Hemel were forced to move to emergency offices in Uxbridge, Middlesex after the company put in place a crisis management plan drawn up in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001.

The Hemel staff work in sales, marketing and administrative roles said Forbes who

added: ?It could have been a mountain but instead it is just a blip. All our customers can continue to deal with Epson. Our business operations are up and running.?

Customers can continue to contact Epson on 01442 261144 and Kodak on 01442 261122.