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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Patience praised as Carlisle fire finally dies out

Firefighters say they’re grateful for people’s patience shown as they dealt with the aftermath of a massive fire.

Wastre fire photo
A firefighter tackles the blaze

They have spent days monitoring the fallout from a blaze that gutted part of Cumbria Waste Management’s complex on the northern edge of Carlisle.

Smouldering waste from the fire last Thursday has burned throughout much of week – prompting frustration from some residents annoyed by smell and from inhaling fumes from burning plastic.

That burning stopped yesterday with work starting to transfer all the material burned to the nearby Hespin Wood landfill site.

Progress will have come as a relief to residents in areas including Lowry Hill who were worried about the long-term effects of smouldering continuing.

And, as the operation drew to an end, a fire chief thanked them for their patience and explained the difficulty in tackling the blaze at the Kingmoor recycling centre. Although it was a slow process, he said crews were tackling it as safely as possible.

Bob Nixon, head of operational support at Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Five fire engines from the Carlisle area initially responded to the incident and worked under difficult conditions to bring the fire under control.

“Due to the volume and type of matter that ignited there has been ongoing smouldering so we’ve been working closely with Cumbria Waste Management to fully extinguish and remove the residual material from the site as safely and rapidly as possible.

“These type of fires are challenging to deal with and in similar incidents elsewhere in the country smouldering has continued for up to a fortnight.

“We thank the public for their patience.”

Bosses at Cumbria Waste Management said the building gripped by the fire contained “principally cardboard” but some plastic was also inside.

People living nearby had questioned why the operation was taking so long.

Gareth Ellis, the city councillor for Belah, was contacted by several people frustrated by the length of the operation.

Such was the scale of the damage to the storage building involved that it will have to be destroyed. Staff based in other buildings on the site have, however, been able to return to work.

Cumbria Waste Management has put into place contingency plans whereby recycling can continue at their other sites at Hespin Wood, near Rockcliffe, and Lillyhall, Workington.

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