Two taken to hospital after fire erupts at recycling centre
PUBLISHED: 08:55 26 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:19 26 July 2018
At least two people have been taken to hospital after a blaze at a recycling centre in Norwich.
It started at around 8.30pm, at Mile Cross Recycling Centre on Swanton Road, off Mile Cross Road, with as many as 50 firefighters and eight appliances tackling the fire.
More than 20 families, including young children, were evacuated from a Travellers site next to the tip.
And William Brazil, who used to run the recycling centre until 2016, said: “My mother and sister have been taken to hospital.
“Someone came on the site and told us we had to leave because the tip was on fire.
“We’ve got 21 plots on there, so that’s 21 families and we don’t know where they are all going to stay.”
Police closed off Swanton Road, which leads to the tip, while firefighters dealt with the blaze which lasted until 4.35am.
A drone was used to help the operation and crews from Earlham, Carrow, Sprowston, Wroxham, Hethersett, Wymondham and Loddon with the Incident Command Unit from Wymondham, aerial ladder platform from Great Yarmouth and Environmental Protection Unit attended.
And Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) tweeted: “Residents in the vicinity of Mile Cross Road in Norwich are requested to keep their windows closed while the fire brigade deal with a nearby incident.”
The Travellers have been told they are unlikely to be allowed back on to the site until tomorrow morning, but some were allowed back on temporarily to retrieve blankets.
Scott Norman, incident commander for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The first crews on the scene had to gain access because it was locked up.
“Once we got the doors open, it was quite an extensive fire within the household waste section.
“In order to contain the fire and prevent it spreading, we had to get eight pumps here, along with the aerial ladder platform.
“Crews are now in there using breathing apparatus and a compressed air foam system to contain the fire.
“The aerial ladder platform is now peeling back the roof to allow us to give us a better view to help us do that.” Mr Norman said between 45 to 50 firefighters had gone to the scene and the nearby Traveller site had been evacuated as a precaution.
He said: “There really was a lot of smoke. It was a very deep seated fire, so you couldn’t see a lot of flames, but there was considerable smoke and heat.
“It was on the left hand side of the centre and crews were working hard to keep it away from the other sections.”
Mr Norman said the Environment Agency and police had also been helping with the incident.
At around 10am this morning Stefan Rider, Earlham station manager, said: “We are handing the incident over to the site operators and they are going to remove the waste pile a little bit at a time and if there’s any deep-seated smouldering going on in there we’ll come back and deal with it as they pull it out.
“From what I saw yesterday it was a small part of the pile on fire, estimated at around 30 tonnes.”