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Brave trio of binmen save lorry 'going up in flames' following recycling drama

PUBLISHED: 10:53 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:53 26 July 2019

A group of binmen have been praised for their “huge, amazing act of bravery”. Pictured is driver Ashley Walker, and colleagues Ian Bell and Jack Cottenden. Picture: SERCO

A group of binmen have been praised for their "huge, amazing act of bravery". Pictured is driver Ashley Walker, and colleagues Ian Bell and Jack Cottenden. Picture: SERCO

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A group of binmen have been praised for their "huge, amazing act of bravery" after reversing a smouldering truck out of a housing estate before calling 999.

Driver Ashley Walker, and colleagues Ian Bell and Jack Cottenden, first noticed smoke coming from the container of their truck after loading it with recycling contents at Bramley Road in Dereham.

But what followed next saw a potentially serious disaster avoided, thanks to the quick-thinking actions of Mr Walker.

As soon as the Serco employee realised what was happening, he slammed the back plate of the lorry closed to keep the air out.

Risking his own safety, he then jumped behind the wheel and reversed out of the estate until he was near a field - allowing fire crews enough room to put out a potential fire.

His colleagues took on the role of banksmen and helped lead the vehicle to safety.

Once far enough away from residents, Mr Walker quickly reported the incident via an emergency call to the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

A Breckland Council spokesperson said: "The Serco staff operating a Breckland Council bin lorry noticed some smouldering coming from the contents of their truck while they were working in Dereham.

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"As a precaution, a fire crew was called and inspected the contents of the truck. They followed the truck to a local refuse centre where the contents of the bin lorry were emptied and hosed down.

"Although there were no visible flames, the staff's quick and decisive action certainly helped ensure the incident didn't become far more serious."

Pauline Perrins, of Ashill, who heard about the incident from a friend, praised the efforts of the men and described their actions as a "huge, amazing act of bravery".

"Quick actions saved the complete lorry going up in flames in the middle of houses.

"They all need a huge pat on the back."

Ms Perrins voiced concerns over the dangers of householders disposing of batteries in recycling waste - which is a potential reason for how the smouldering broke out inside the bin lorry.

She said: "Batteries put into the recycling instead of being disposed of properly, together with the heat, plenty of paper and card make a good fire."

Firefighters were called at around 10.50am on Tuesday July 23.

A crew from Dereham inspected the smouldering and used jets to put it out.

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