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Criminal investigation into major fire at Leeds recycling plant

More than 100 firefighters tackled a blaze at industrial packaging recycler Tradpak, which the company says may have been started after the site was burgled.

An emergency call was made to West Yorkshire Fire Service in the early hours of 21 April, who attended the fire at Tradpak’s premises in Albion Way, Armley, Leeds.

At the height of the incident 15 fire engines, two hydraulic platforms and a specialist high volume pumping appliance were in use. Plumes of smoke, which residents have been assured is not toxic, were visible across Leeds.

Tradpak said investigating officers had indicated the fire started “whilst the site was being burgled and the area is being treated as a crime scene”.

A fire service statement read: “Significant numbers of adjacent properties were saved from certain destruction due to the hard work and dedication of the fire fighters on duty.

“The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Fire and rescue.”

West Yorkshire Police also deployed officers to seal off nearby roads and evacuate a nearby nightclub over safety concerns.

A police statement read: “Due to swift work in containing the fire there was not a need to evacuate any nearby homes or the nearby Armley Prison.”

Superintendent Mabs Hussain of Leeds District Police said: “We are continuing to assist our partners in the fire service in responding to what has been a major incident for Leeds.

“I want to reassure residents that everything has been done to get the fire under control, and minimise the effect on residents.

“We can also confirm that the smoke from the fire is not toxic. However as a precaution, we have continued to advise people near the site to keep doors and windows shut while the smoke has cleared, as we would do with any large fire.”

Tradpak statement:

“Yesterday a major fire in Leeds engulfed Tradpak’s yard and some of its processing areas. Damage was extensive but no one was injured and the firm’s offices and some processing facilities were undamaged. 

The blaze was quickly controlled on Tradpak’s site but unfortunately their immediate neighbours, a packaging company, contained large quantities of cardboard, polythene and gas oil and their fire proved much more difficult to control and is still burning today.

Early indications from the investigating officers suggest that the fire started whilst the site was being burgled and the area is being treated as a crime scene, further complicating recovery and firefighting efforts. The clean-up operation starts today. 

Owner David Roebuck thanked the Fire Services and Environment Agency for their magnificent efforts in mitigating the impact of the fire.

Immediate arrangements are being put in place to provide continuity of service for all customers and Kevan Underhill, managing director, thanked customers and suppliers for their support and patience given the challenging circumstances.”

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