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Thetford recycling centre set to re-open after major blaze

PUBLISHED: 06:00 27 May 2010 | UPDATED: 22:04 07 July 2010

Thetford recyling centre, which was damaged by fire. Photo: Sonya Duncan.

Thetford recyling centre, which was damaged by fire. Photo: Sonya Duncan.

Chris Hill

A Thetford recycling centre is due to re-open today after 65 firefighters extinguished a “severe” blaze fuelled by tonnes of household rubbish.

Emergency teams were called shortly after 10am yesterday as the fire took hold in a waste transfer building at Burrell Way, where rubbish from street collections is taken to be processed.

A Thetford recycling centre is due to re-open today after 65 firefighters extinguished a “severe” blaze fuelled by tonnes of household rubbish.

Emergency teams were called shortly after 10am yesterday as the fire took hold in a waste transfer building at Burrell Way, where rubbish from street collections is taken to be processed.

Crews from 11 fire appliances, including an aerial ladder and a water carrier, took about an hour to control the flames which were seen tearing through the roof. An ambulance was also called to the scene, but no-one required medical treatment.

Although the fire affected the transfer building operated by Waste Recycling Group, it also forced the adjacent household waste recycling centre, owned by Norfolk County Council, to close for the rest of the day.

Visitors wanting to dump their recyclables were diverted to alternative sites at Ashill and Ketteringham throughout the afternoon, but a council spokesman said the centre would be fully operational again by 8am today.

Last night, Waste Recycling Group spokesman Mike Snell said the quick action of fire crews meant the transfer building only suffered “cosmetic” damage and would also be open as usual today.

“The fire brigade turned up very quickly and dealt with it, for which we are very grateful,” he said. “The building was damaged to one corner by smoke and flames, but it is cosmetic damage. Our staff noticed the smoke and it caught light very quickly.

“These things can happen when you are dealing with materials like cardboard and plastic, so we are always very cautious about the possibility of a fire. We are not speculating about the cause - we will have our own local investigation to make sure we learn anything we can from the circumstances that took place.”

The successful effort to stop the fire spreading included Norfolk crews from Thetford, Attleborough and East Harling, working alongside Suffolk crews from Brandon and Ixworth. At one point a small mechanical digger was used to lift up the flammable rubbish and damp it down.

Thetford fire station manager Ray Harcourt said: “When we attended, the fire was through the roof and coming out of the rear of the building. It was quite a severe fire to start with, but due to the excellent work of the initial crews, we stopped it spreading. Potentially, it could have been quite a severe incident.”


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