Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Firefighters head off river pollution threat from tyre yard inferno

This is the shocking image of the inferno that took hold after a tyre yard in Co Down went up in flames at the weekend.

Firefighters battled the flames after thousands of tyres blazed in what is believed to have been an arson attack in Mayobridge. They also fought to prevent pollution from finding its way into a waterway neighbouring the blaze.

Up to 40 firefighters were involved in tackling the fire which was reported at 9.50pm on Sunday.

Group commander John Allen said the main concern was to minimise any damage to the environment.

"We are alongside a river and we are very conscious that fire water run-off has the potential to go into that river and result in a major fish kill," he said.

"As a result we are modifying out tactics accordingly and we are working in conjunction with the Environment Agency."

Firefighters worked with spades and shovels to create dikes and ditches to prevent toxic run-off from the blaze from entering the river.

"I'd like to stress to people that when you have tyres set on fire there will be a major impact on the environment."

SDLP South Down MLA Karen McKevitt said the blaze was worrying, firstly because of the detrimental impact it has had on a local business, and secondly due to the environmental damage which it has caused.

"Fortunately, due to the direction of the wind, properties close to the fire have not been affected."

The Environment Agency said no water pollution appeared to have occurred as a result of the fire.

As the fire is likely to burn for some time, the agency will be continuing to monitor the site.