Scrap metal fire hits Light Bros’ Lewes site

A fire involving an estimated 200 tonnes of scrap metal at a site operated by waste management company, Light Brothers Ltd, in Lewes, East Sussex, is being tackled by fire crews.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has described the incident as a ‘large’ fire, and has reported that the blaze broke out at close to 7pm last night (25 May). The company noted that the fire was spotted on CCTV and was quickly contained.

Efforts to tackle the fire are being scaled down this morning, the Fire Service has said, and Light Brothers has reported that the site is expected to be fully operational next week.

The site, at a location close to the Southerham roundabout in Lewes, takes in scrap metal, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) as well as accepting material including wood, paper and plastics.

Transport

The Fire and Rescue Service reported that the A27 road had been closed briefly yesterday evening whilst dealing with the fire, although it has now reopened.

In an update this morning (26 May), the Fire and Rescue Service said: “Crews have worked tirelessly throughout the night after being called to a fire involving 200 tonnes of scrap metal.

“East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service have this morning met with Sussex Police and the Highways Agency and it has been confirmed that the A27 closure between Beddingham roundabout and Southerham roundabout will be lifted at 0700hrs this morning.”

Crews from Lewes, Barcombe, Brighton, Newhaven, Heathfield, Crowborough and Uckfield as well as the Command Unit from Bexhill attended the fire. At the height of the incident ten fire engines were at the scene along with support vehicles and officers.

According to the service, as of 10am, the incident was being scaled down to four fire engines at the scene.

Challenges

Deputy chief fire officer Mark Andrews said: “Our crews and our control room staff have worked very hard to deal with this fire overnight and it is now under control. This incident presents a number of challenges – the huge amount of waste metal involved means that we will be at the scene for some time.”

In a statement on the incident, Light Brothers thanked its staff and the Fire and Rescue Service for their “quick response” and confirmed that the site will be “fully operational” after the bank holiday weekend.

The company said: “We are incredibly grateful to the firefighters and other emergency services who have helped us to deal with the incident and we will continue to support their operations in any way we can.

“A fire was identified just after 7 pm on CCTV and our emergency procedures implemented. The fire was quickly contained and there have been no injuries or damage to machinery.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Investigation

When contacted by letsrecycle.com, a spokesperson from the Environment Agency confirmed that an investigation into the incident is underway.

The spokesperson said: “Environment Agency officers are busy responding to a fire at a waste site at Greystone Quarry, Southerham in Lewes, East Sussex, which occurred last night.

“We are advising the Fire Service regarding pollution prevention measures and are monitoring any potential impacts on the local environment.

“Our investigation into the incident is underway and we continue to work with the site operators and our professional partners involved to understand what happened.”