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Lithium battery blamed for Mid UK Recycling fire

mid uk fire sept 2018

A fire at a MRF run by Mid UK Recycling is thought to have been caused by a lithium battery,

The fire broke out in the morning of 14 September at the Barkston Heath MRF at High Dike, Ancaster.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service sent 10 fire crews and auxillary appliances to deal with what it said was a “major incident”. The blaze was brought under control and crews remained at the scene on 15 September to damp down the fire.

The Environment Agency was also on the scene to help prevent pollution from fire water run-off.

A spokesperson for Mid UK said: “At the moment, we believe the fire started on a waste processing line. We believe the cause may have been a lithium battery which has come in within kerbside recycling materials. But a full investigation will be carried out in due course.

“The fire was contained within our MRF. No stored waste materials were affected and, due to the fire breaks we have in place, the fire did not spread to any other units.”

The spokesperson apologised to anyone who was affected by the fire, and added: “We will be working closely with the fire service to determine the cause and any lessons that can be learned going forward.”

Although there is no firm data, the problem of batteries causing fires at waste facilities is thought to be on the increase.

The Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum said the public needed to be warned against putting batteries in the recycling stream. Chair Chris Jones said it was a matter for education rather than regulatory change or scientific advances.

“We do not have data on batteries causing fires at waste plants because it is quite difficult to know if a fire is started in any particular way,” he told MRW.

“There are cases where we know batteries are involved, but many have no definite cause.

“We do know, though, that batteries should not be put in other waste streams. [We have] long called for better publicity, so the public put them in the correct segregated stream instead.”

Mid UK was one of a number of waste management companies to be hit by fire in July, when 40 firefighters tackled a blaze at its site in Caythorpe that arose from an overheating shredder and surrounding wood chippings.

In June, Mid UK was fined £100,000 for a 2015 fire at its Barkston Heath warehouse complex.

  • Battery fires will feature in the October issue of MRW

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