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Fire at Merseyside recycling centre

More than 60 firefighters were called to tackle an inferno at the Orchid Environmental recycling and recovery centre in Merseyside.

The blaze took place last Friday (October 24) after a large quantity of rubbish caught fire at the £13 million mechanical heat treatment facility. The plant is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) new technologies demonstrator programme and only became operational in May 2008.  The Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority (MWDA) works in partnership with engineering company Orchid Environmental to run the facility which is contracted to take 50,000 tonnes of municipal waste per annum.

When firefighters arrived at Orchid Environmental they found a conveyor belt and rubbish on fire.

MWDA project manager Andy Gilbert said that nobody was hurt by the blaze and that the fire started within one section of the building. He said that the waste authority will be helping Merseyside Fire Services with their investigations to find out how the fire started. Gilbert added:

The building is OK but the roof is damaged. One or two processing lines and a conveyor belt have been damaged by the heat.

The processing line is temporarily out of action and needs to be repaired. But we are in a recovery situation and are planning the repair and replacement of damaged equipment.
Huyton community fire station watch manager John Cousins said: We assessed the situation and instigated a rapid attack to knock down the flames and suppress the spread of the fire.

Orchid and MWDA will be developing a recovery plan while the plant will be shut for several weeks.

At the height of the incident there were 12 fire appliances at the scene and the Merseyside fire service said the quick intervention of the crews helped limit the damage. Firefighters remained throughout the night to extinguish and damp down the fire.

The Defra new technologies demonstrator programme has funded eight pilot waste plants and it aims to demonstrate innovative waste treatment technologies as alternatives to landfill, and prove their economic, social and environmental viability.



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