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Huge fire at Birmingham scrap yard

Firefighters have spent the night battling a blaze at a Birmingham scrap metal recycling site, which at one point threatened to disrupt power supplies to thousands of homes.

Some 800 tonnes of metal and mixed plastic and rubber caught light early yesterday afternoon at EMR’s site at Saltley.

West Midlands Fire Service said it believed the fire started accidentally.

The service said around 100 firefighters, 12 fire engines, an aerial platform and a high-volume water pumping unit had been used to contain the blaze, and firefighters were expect to remain for “a good part of today”.

EMR staff worked with firefighters using their own heavy plant and lifting gear to help break up the scrap materials, the service said.

There had been fears that up to 40,000 properties would have their power supply affected by the fire following damage to power lines above the site, but supplier Western Power was able to avert this.

Chief fire officer Phil Loach said: “Crews have made progress and the fire has now been surrounded. These types of incidents draw in a lot of resources in the initial stages – this is to prevent the fire spreading. It is likely to be a protracted incident and we will be dealing with it for at least the next 24 hours.”

An EMR statement said: “We are pleased the fire has been brought under control without any injuries to people or damage to surrounding property, and we are very grateful for the highly professional efforts of the fire service in this regard. Our own staff have also been working through the night to assist in this process and we are grateful to them too.”

EMR said it had measures in place to enable it to inspect baled material before processing, “but the fire has started in the feed pile prior to any processing on-site”.

It added: “It has been made more difficult by the fire starting just after the bank holiday when the material would have been sitting on-site a little longer than normal. As we move from the initial firefighting to containment and control, we will now look to work with the authorities to try to determine the cause of the fire and understand what lessons can be learned.”

Source: West Midlands Fire Service

West Midlands Fire Service video

Picture: West Midlands Fire Service

Readers' comments (1)

  • I thought the idea of recycling was to reduce the emissions. How are all of these recycling fires of late affecting the atmosphere?

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