Fires at waste sites tackled nationwide

A series of fires have occurred throughout the waste sector this week with blazes reported in London and others across the UK – in what has been described as a ‘peak time ‘for fires in the sector.

The fire at a Dagenham site operated by Whites Skip Hire (Picture: London Fire Brigade)

The fire at a Dagenham site operated by Whites Skip Hire (Picture: London Fire Brigade)

One of the latest fires to have broken out at a waste site this week occurred at a metal recycling site at Dobwalls, East Cornwall, operated by WH Orchard and Sons. The fire started April 27 at around 2pm. Efforts to tackle the blaze, which are being led by the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, are ongoing.

Cornwall

WH Orchard runs a vehicle salvage and scrapping operation at the site. In a statement released this morning, the Fire and Rescue Service said that it is making ‘steady progress’ in tackling the blaze, with relief crews working overnight to bring the fire under control.

The Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Crews are continuing their sustained attack on the fire to dampen it down.”

Appliances from Liskeard, Bodmin, Wedbridge, Callington, Looe, Launceston, St Austell Newquay and St Dennis were mobilised to tackle the fire.

This week has also seen waste fires at locations across London – Daghenam, Erith and Ilford – as well as a fire at waste transfer station in Cardiff, operated by Biffa.

Dagenham

An investigation is ongoing into the cause of a warehouse fire at a Dagenham site operated by Whites Skip Hire, which broke out on Saturday (April 22).

When contacted by letsrecycle.com, a spokesman for Whites Skip Hire confirmed that the fire took place at the company’s site in Chequers Lane. The company operates a fully licensed waste transfer station at the site, which tips commercial and domestic waste loads.

London Fire Brigade confirmed that it was in attendance at the site and that the fire was extinguished on Sunday.

According to a statement released by LFB, fifteen fire engines and around 100 firefighters and officers were called to the fire at a large warehouse and waste fire on Saturday evening.

The statement read: “The warehouse measured around 80 metres by 35 metres and smoke from the blaze could be seen for miles around during the early stages of the fire.”

Crews from Barking, Dagenham, East Ham, Ilford, Hornchurch, Romford, Stratford, Poplar and other surrounding fire stations attended the incident.

Ilford

35 firefighters were called to the car scrap yard on Wanstead Park road in Ilford (Picture: London Fire Brigade)

35 firefighters were called to the car scrap yard on Wanstead Park road in Ilford (Picture: London Fire Brigade)

As well as the Dagenham blaze, London Fire Brigade also attended two smaller fires in the capital this week.

Six fire engines and 35 firefighters were called to a car scrap yard on Wanstead Park road in Ilford on Monday morning (April 24) in which seven cars and three vans were destroyed. The cause of the fire is also under investigation.

LFB also attended a fire in Erith, reported to have involved around two tonnes of waste including derelict boats and five gas cylinders.

Fire crews from Erith, Bexley, Plumstead, Dagenham, Sidcup and East Greenwich fire stations were at the scene. The cause of the fire is also under investigation.

Wales

Elsewhere in the country, waste management and recycling firm, Biffa, suffered a fire at its Bessemer Close waste station in the Leckwith area of Cardiff on Monday afternoon (April 24). The fire was brought under control by crews from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service that day.

The fire at a Dagenham site operated by Whites Skip Hire (Picture: London Fire Brigade)

The fire at a Dagenham site operated by Whites Skip Hire (Picture: London Fire Brigade)

In a statement, Biffa said that the fire is thought to have started in a waste disposal truck owned by a ‘third party’ visiting the site.

WISH

Speaking to letsrecycle.com, Chris Jones, chair of the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum, which has led efforts to reduce the impact of fires on the waste sector, commented that Spring is often a peak time for fires at waste sites.

According to Mr Jones, during the Easter holiday many people have their first barbeques of the year which can often cause ‘hot loads’ – a contributor to fires at waste sites.

Mr Jones said: “The number of fires has been reducing but it needs to continue to decrease. There’s a lot you can do to prevent fires and there is a lot you can do to minimise the impact.”

Mr Jones also urged waste operators to follow WISH’s waste fire guidance which has recently been redrafted (see letsrecycle.com story).