Huge fire breaks out at Napier Barracks where illegal migrants had been protesting their living conditions

A fire has broken out at an ex-military facility in Kent which has been used to accommodate Channel migrants that had reached British shores illegally.

Eight fire engines were called to the Napier Barracks in Folkestone on Friday to tackle the blaze. Police are also at the scene.

Authorities are yet to confirm the cause of the blaze, however sources at the scene have told MailOnline that a riot was started involving around 100 migrants. Staff were allegedly barricaded in rooms while windows were smashed and a building was set on fire.

In footage available on social media, at least one of the buildings is clearly on fire, as migrants stand back and film the blaze on their smartphones. The canteen also appears to have been ransacked.

Home Secretary Priti Patel commented on the incident saying: “The damage and destruction at Napier barracks is not only appalling but deeply offensive to the taxpayers of this country who are providing this accommodation while asylum claims are being processed.”

The facility has been subject to much news coverage recently and tensions had been rising after the migrants protested the conditions within the camp and demanded their freedom, despite an official at the barracks being recently recorded saying: “This is one big house…so they can roam around their house…we can’t stop them.”

The facility recently suffered an outbreak of Covid-19 due to refusal by the migrants to self-isolate or socially distance.

“We advised them they have to stay in their rooms for isolation, for their own health and everyone else’s health. If they still choose to come out that’s up to them”, officials were heard saying.

Immigration minister Chris Philp lamented the fact that “a number of individuals refused tests and have been either refusing to self-isolate or follow social distancing rules, despite repeated requests to do so.”

A number of the migrants were moved to hotels only on Monday following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Napier Barracks migrants refusing to socially distance and risking the wellbeing of police officers as they demand relocation during a protest earlier this month.

Since its inception, the facility has been subject to various reports of disturbances and violent incidents including last month when a resident “grabbed a knife and terrified staff” and another was accused of sexually harassing a charity worker.

Residents living or working near to the facility are being advised to close their doors and windows due to the extent of the smoke.