Public Inquiry into Swindon fire that lasted 2 months

Councillors in Swindon have voted to hold a public inquiry into a fire at a recycling plant which had been burning for eight weeks. The fire began at Averies Recycling in Marshgate in July.

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Crews have extinguished Marshgate fire after eight weeks

Fire crews have put out the Marshgate fire after 8 weeks Credit: ITV West Country

A fire in Swindon that has been burning for eight weeks has been put out.

The fire at the Averies Recycling Centre in Marshgate, Swindon, has been fully extinguished following the successful implementation of a multi-agency plan.

Fire crews and the Environment Agency, who have maintained a 24-hour presence at the site since the 21 July, will leave tomorrow. Businesses and residents will be thanked for their cooperation. The Environment Agency will continue to monitor the situation.

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Councillors call for enquiry into Marshgate fire

Councillors call for enquiry into Marshgate fire Credit: ITV West Country

Councillors in Swindon are calling for an inquiry into a fire at a waste plant in the town.

The fire at the Averies site has been burning for two months and it's still not known when it will be completely extinguished. Councillor Mark Dempsey said it was crucial to get answers and find out how the site got into the state it did.

Crews will be fighting Marshgate fire for several weeks longer

Fire crews have made 'significant progress' since tonnes of waste were removed from the site Credit: ITV West Country

Wiltshire Fire & Rescue say they can't predict how long they'll be tackling the fire still burning at Averies Recycling Centre in Swindon.

A spokesman has thanked local residents for their ongoing cooperation. The fire has been burning since July. Fire crews say they have made 'significant progress' in tackling the fire since the removal of thousands of tonnes of waste from the site.

The huge stack of burning material remaining on site is now being broken down so the waste can be spread and fully extinguished. Due to the scale of the blaze, this is an unavoidably time-consuming and laborious process. We appreciate the fire has been burning for many weeks and that local residents and businesses really want to see an end now. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their continued great patience and understanding at this difficult time, and also to reassure them that good headway is being made. Unfortunately it is not possible to put a precise timescale on when the fire will be fully extinguished, as the length of time it takes crews to put out different parts of the stack inevitably varies. As stated previously, an operation of this nature is going to take several weeks and all efforts and resources are being deployed to bring it to a close as soon as possible so normality can resume. Thanks again for everyone’s ongoing support.

– John Popowicz, Area Manager, Wiltshire Fire & Rescue

"Aggressive tactics" being used to tackle rubbish fire

Fire crews tackling a blaze that's been smouldering for more than five weeks have today adopted what they call "more aggressive tactics" in an effort to put it out.

They've finally been able to get close to the source of the fire in a huge pile of rubbish at a recycling centre in Swindon.

But they warn the clouds of smoke which have been blighting the area could continue for weeks.

Bob Constantine reports:

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New plan to extinguish fire at Swindon recycling centre

Firefighters in Swindon will tomorrow dump thousands of litres of water on a fire at a recycling centre in Swindon.

The fire at the Averies site has been burning for more than a month. Thousands of tonnes of waste has been removed from the centre, allowing Wiltshire fire crews to better tackle the blaze.

Residents and local businesses are being told that the work will almost certainly result in more smoke, similar to those experienced in the early days of the fire.

Thousands of tonnes of unburnt waste is removed in Swindon

Thousands of tonnes of unburnt waste is removed Credit: ITV News

Thousands of tonnes of unburnt waste is being removed from a recycling plant in Swindon that has now been burning for more than four weeks. It's hoped this will give crews space to tackle the fire at Averies in Marshgate more aggressively. The Environment Agency took control of the site after the owners failed to comply with orders to deal with the material.

Waste removed from Averies at last

Tonnes of unburnt waste have started to be moved from the Averies Recycling site in Marshgate, Swindon after the owner failed to comply with orders to remove it.

Environment Agency contractors have begun removing up to 3,000 tonnes of the non-hazardous waste which will create the necessary space for Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service to tackle the blaze more aggressively.

The waste is being moved by Hills Waste Solutions and comprises mainly non-recyclable, commercial material. It is being checked and damped down as a precaution before it leaves Marshgate and goes on to be transported to the permitted landfill site in Chapel Farm, Blunsdon.

Firecrew at Averies Credit: ITV Westcountry

It is anticipated that, within a few days, enough waste will have left the site for firefighters to be able to intensify their work. Preparations are underway to protect the drainage systems ahead of thousands of litres of water per minute being used to tackle the blaze, which started four weeks ago.

As this more aggressive firefighting begins, the smoke experienced during the early days of the fire is likely to return. Air quality levels will continue to be monitored daily by Swindon Borough Council and Public Health England so that local people can be advised on any necessary health precautions.

The waste transfer operation forms part of a multi-agency plan, which is being advanced by partner organisations committed to the joint aim of putting the fire out faster for local residents and businesses.

– Environment Agrency

Following enforcement action taken by the Environment Agency, control has been taken of the Marshgate site and work is underway to remove significant volumes of waste, which has precluded fire crews from being able to tackle the blaze full blast. In the coming days, it is hoped sufficient waste will have been taken away so this more intensified firefighting can begin. This is a long and complicated operation and we are grateful for the ongoing support and co-operation of residents and local businesses affected by the fire, which we all agree has been going on too long. Another step forward has been taken today and rest assured we’re working hard to minimise disruption and ensure normality can resume as soon as possible. Inevitably, the smoke means things will unfortunately seem worse before they get better and once again I thank everyone for their patience at this difficult time.

– James Mahoney, Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service
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