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Firefighters battle Smethwick blaze amid devastation

Firefighters are still battling to bring the Smethwick blaze under control amid the devastation, with some standing on the remains of burnt recycled material to hose down the fire.

A firefighter can be seen battling the Smethwick blaze amid the devastation of burnt recycled materials. Credit: Rupert Evelyn/ITV News
The site is in ruins following the blaze. Credit: Rupert Evelyn/ITV News
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Labour: 'Ministers must look at fire risk of sky lanterns again'

The Government has spent £25 000 on a report into sky lanterns which found they are a significant fire risk, may hamper search and rescue services, and could pose a danger to aeroplanes.

They also pose a risk to cattle that could be injured by them – yet the government has decided to do nothing. After the Smethwick fire, Ministers must look at this issue again.

– Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary


Firefighters limit Smethwick blaze by two thirds

West Midlands Fire Service said firefighters have reduced the blaze in Smethwick to a third its original size.

Fire service calls for review of laws over 'fire lanterns'

West Midlands Fire Service has called for an urgent review of the legislation regarding the use of "airborne fire lanterns".

There is evidence of them causing fires, wasting emergency services’ time, being mistaken for distress flares, misleading pilots and causing environmental damage.They also pose a risk to livestock, agriculture, camping activities, recycling sites and hazardous material sites.

The risk of further fires can only increase as the lanterns become more popular.

We do not support the use of these devices, and ask that members of the public and event organisers stop using them.

– West Midlands Fire Service statement

The brigade posted a statement on its website in response to what it described as "one of the biggest fires in its history in Smethwick, believed to have been started by a Chinese lantern at around 11pm last night.

'Ash cloud' fills the sky after recycling plant blaze

Twitter users have taken to the social networking site, reflecting the size and extent of the fire in Smethwick:


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Magnitude of 100,000 tonnes of recycling material ablaze

The West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed that 100,000 tonnes of recycling material is ablaze in Smethwick.

That equates to:

  • Four HMS Ark Royals at 22,000 tonnes each
  • 769 Boeing 747s
  • More than 13 Eiffel Towers

Chief Fire Officer Vij Randeniya, says CCTV cameras nearby have picked up a Chinese lantern landing on the recycling plant on Dartmouth Road.

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Eleven firefighters injured at Smethwick blaze

A total of 11 firefighters have been treated by ambulance crews for a variety of minor injuries, include heat exhaustion and minor burns.

Local residents continue to be asked to keep doors and windows shut as a precaution, but there is not thought to be any risk to health from the fire.

– West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesperson
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CCTV indicates Smethwick blaze was caused by Chinese lantern

The Chief Fire Officer for the West Midlands Fire Service, Vij Randeniya, has announced that the Smethwick blaze was caused by a Chinese lantern landing on recycling material.

The lantern, which is yet to be investigated by West Midlands Fire Service, was caught on CCTV hovering over the plant on Dartmouth Road.

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