Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Crews battle recycling plant blaze

Firefighters are tackling a blaze at the Lawrence Recycling site in Kidderminster

Firefighters are continuing to battle a huge fire at a recycling plant - as environmental teams try to prevent polluted water escaping the site.

At its height, roads around the area had to be closed as about 80 firefighters tackled a severe blaze at the Lawrence Recycling site in Worcestershire after fire broke out on Sunday.

There are still about ten crews on the site, where there is a thick pall of smoke hanging over the area, although the fire has been brought under control, according to Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service.

Residents living near the plant in Stourport Road, Kidderminster, have been advised to keep doors and windows closed, although the burning waste itself is not toxic, according to senior fire officers.

Fire took hold in a large building where tons of paper and plastics are stored before being recycled. At one point, the huge column of smoke thrown up by the blaze could be seen up to 30 miles away according to West Midlands residents.

Group commander Richard Jordan, from the fire service, said: "We've been faced with a significant incident. Operations will be going on for some time yet.

"The site is a recycling company - we're faced with a mixture of general household waste on fire and we're trying to extinguish that. We've cut some fire breaks, to prevent spread and contain the fire as best we can."

He said the building had suffered roof damage but was "structurally intact", adding that firefighters could be on site for days.

One major concern is the water being used to fight the fire as it comes of the site, running into the nearby by canal carrying toxins from the waste.

Dave Throup, of the Environment Agency, said: "We can't keep all that water on site, so we need to be very careful in terms of where it's going into the local environment. We've got officers out at the moment monitoring the local water courses just making sure that fire water isn't getting in because it does contain an awful lot of nasty toxins."

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