Fire crews tackle bank holiday recycling fires

Firefighters had a busy bank holiday, after tackling several fires at recycling sites over the four-day bank holiday.

On Friday (3 April), South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue sent out five fire engines, including an industrial unit and crews from Dearne and Rotherham stations, to tackle a 'fire' at construction and industrial waste recycling company TK Lynskey Excavations Ltd.

The incident, which was reported to the fire service at 6.55am on Friday, had taken hold in an industrial unit at the recycling site at Common Lane, in Manvers near Wath Upon Dearne.

However, on arrival, it was established that although there were two 'hot spots' in which material was smoking, there was no physical fire. 

After dousing the materials in the unit in water, the smoke was eradicated at 12.15pm.

Speaking to Resource, Tom Lynskey, Managing Director of the TKL Group, which runs TK Lynskey Excavations Ltd, said that the company's investigations had found that the smoke was emanating from cigarette waste that had been brought in via a skip. He said that several cigarette butts had been found in the waste, which also included three mattresses, and that it was 'reasonable' to deduce that the smoke had come from this.

There were no injuries and no damage to the building. Lynskey added that business was "back up and running today, as usual".

Fire in Essex

As well as this fire, crews in Essex were also called to a recycling site blaze after around 60 tonnes of mixed household waste caught alight on Saturday (4 April).

Four fire engines were sent to a recycling site in Hollow Road, near Saffron Walden, shortly before 9pm after receiving reports of a fire.

On arrival at the site, thought to be the skip hire business Carr & Bircher, crews found around 20 per cent of the 300 tonnes of waste on site to be alight.

At 2pm on Sunday, the incident commander, Divisional Officer Greg Keys, reported: “The fire broke out in the refuse and recycling site yesterday evening and crews have been tackling the fire throughout the night, and today.

“Today crews have been working to create a fire break by using a mechanical digger to break-up the rubbish and stop the fire from spreading further into the 300 tonne pile. The large pile contains a mixture of domestic waste, wood chippings and aggregate.

“Fire crews have done an excellent job and have prevented the fire from spreading to the office buildings on site.”

At its peak, fire crews were using four jets to dampen down the fire, with firefighters leaving the site yesterday afternoon (6 April).

No one was injured in the fire, and Essex Fire and Rescue Service (EFRS) is investigating the cause.

Waste site fire guidance

The waste industry has encountered an increasing number of waste site fires in recent years, with the average rate of fires at waste and recycling works coming in at just under one per day.

In an attempt to prevent fires from occurring, the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum issued new guidance last year to help waste site operators reduce fire risk.

Endorsed by the Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA), and developed with input from the Environment Agency (EA), the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Health and Safety Laboratories (HSL), and other bodies, the guidance outlines how best to safely manage the storage of materials susceptible to combustion.

The Operations Director of the CFOA, Roy Wilsher, said that the guidance was “hugely useful”.

Find out more about the problems of waste site fires

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