30 firefighters called to huge fire at West Bromwich recycling plant

Eight fire engines and 30 firefighters were called to tackle a blaze at a West Bromwich recycling plant last Friday (29 June).

The fire was reported to West Midlands Fire service at approximately 9:10pm on Friday evening, and station commander Lee Baker confirmed that eight pumps and a hydraulic platform were deployed at the scene of the blaze, and that the fire was contained in one large metal structure.

It was reported that oil and recycling materials had caught alight and were on fire at the site, though it is still unclear what started the incident.

Two pumps were still on site at 9am the following morning, with West Bromwich fire station crew commander Scott Weldon commenting that, due to the large amount of dry recyclable waste remaining at the plant, the two crews still present were damping down the site. 

Fires of this nature at recycling or general waste plants are not uncommon – there was a major fire in The Pepperhill Household Waste Recycling Centre in Southfleet in April this year. Kent County Council announced that that site would be closed for several months, in order for it to be decontaminated, as well as renewing cladding, electrics, CCTV and the sprinkler system.

Last year, the Chief Fire Officers Association stated that there have been approximately 250 incidents of waste fires annually over the last decade, with an estimated cost to fire and rescue services of around £16 million a year.

In response to these statistics, the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum (WISH) published new fire and waste guidance, incorporating the results of a series of waste burn tests conducted during 2015 and 2016, which contributed to the development of understanding and knowledge of waste fires.

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