EMR site waste fire disrupts New Year traffic

A fire at the Brentford site of European Metal Recycling (EMR) caused disruption on major roads out of London yesterday (2 January).

EMR site waste fire disrupts New Year traffic
London Fire Brigade says that 70 firefighters were called to the site on Transport Avenue at midday yesterday to control the blaze that was taking over around 75 tonnes of recyclable waste. The fire was under control by quarter past three.

The site, one of over 75 run by the company in the UK, is EMR’s largest of four scrap metal yards in West London and takes commercial and household ferrous metals and both large and small domestic appliances for recycling. The site also buys scrap vehicles and has a separate site down the road for non-ferrous metals.

The plume of smoke rising from the fire was visible from miles around, billowing over the nearby A4 out of London and causing severe traffic problems on the M4, with the National Police Air Service urging motorists to be careful as many were slowing to look at the smoke.

London Fire Brigade Station Manager Jerome Kumedzina, who was at the incident, initially predicted that the fire would be a “protracted incident”, but after engines from Chiswick, Heston, Ealing, Southall, Twickenham and Feltham fire stations managed to bring it under control, he said: “Our firefighters worked extremely hard in challenging conditions to get this fire under control and they will now remain at the scene for some time damping down.”

Now that the fire is under control, an investigation into its cause has now begun.

EMR site waste fire disrupts New Year traffic
Fire fighters had the blaze under control by the early evening
A spokesperson for EMR told Resource: “We can confirm that there was a fire at our site in Brentford on Monday. The fire, which only affected one part of the site, was handled quickly and professionally by the fire services, in conjunction with our own teams.

“There were thankfully no injuries and minimal damage caused by the fire. We will now be working closely with the relevant bodies to discover the cause of the fire.”

Investigations into waste fire prevention ongoing

Last March, more than 100 firefighters were needed as around 800 tonnes of metal and mixed plastic went up in flames at EMR’s Saltey facility in Birmingham.

Fire investigators later found that the blaze, which took two days to fully extinguish, was started accidentally by a spark from a vehicle battery or scrap metal, which then ignited ‘combustible materials in the pile’.

Waste fires are a problem that have been the focus of investigation by the Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) for the past year, as the industry and firefighting services seek to find greater evidence as to how fires comprising of waste materials can best be prevented and fought.

According to the CFOA, there have been around 250 incidents of waste fires per year for the last decade, with an estimated cost to fire and rescue services of around £16 million a year.

More information is available in a comment piece written by Mark Andrews, Waste Fires Lead, at the Chief Fire Officers’ Association, for Resource suggesting how the waste industry can reduce its fire risk.

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