UPDATED: Firefighter reveals scale of major blaze at recycling centre in Northamptonshire

Pictures: www.twitter.com/WarrenEllison01
Pictures: www.twitter.com/WarrenEllison01

Firefighters tackling a major blaze at a recycling centre in Northamptonshire successfully stopped it from spreading to nearby units, one of the sector commanders at the scene has revealed.

The fire took hold at a unit in Gretton Brook Road, Corby, late on Friday night.

Warren Ellison, a group manager at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue, was one of the sector commanders at the scene.

He said: “The call came in at 00.50am this morning that Recycle Force was on fire.

“There was a developed fire within the building. The building itself is a recycling centre for domestic waste, and so was filled with bales of paper and plastics.

“As the fire grew all of this caught fire, as did bales outside as well.”

At the peak of the incident there 10 fire engines at the scene - eight from Northamptonshire and two from Leicestershire, as well as high volume pumps (HPVs) from Cambridgeshire and Warwickshire. In total there were about 50 to 60 fire fighters at the scene.

Mr Ellison said: “We realised that the scale of the fire could mean we would need more water than the mains could supply, and that’s why we called in the HVPs just in case.

“The first thing we did was put in water curtain to stop the fire spreading to an adjacent warehouse that was just 10 to 12ft away. If we hadn’t the radiated heat would have set it alight as well.

“We used the aerial platform from Corby to tackle the main fire. We had contained the fire to the building by around 2.30am.

“The problem is that the building is a steel supported structure, and when exposed to fire it starts to collapse and you end up with large panels of steel covering the fire itself. Also the collapsing building makes it very dangerous for the firefighters. That’s why it will take so long to put out the fire completely.

“The incident has since been scaled down to three fire engines and a control unit on site.

“We have done modelling of the smoke plume and weather conditions and it seems to be heading away from residential areas, but that can’t rule out very localised weather patterns. We are also trying to minimise it as much as possible as Rockingham Speedway which is just down the road has an event on today.

“The company has been there for five years and never had a fire before.

“They have a business continuity plan in place. They will continue to collect recyclable waste in the local area, but are redistributing their work to other locations.

“At the moment the cause is under investigation but it is not believed to be malicious,” he added.