VIDEO: Health advice issued after industrial estate fire

A waste disposals plant hit by fire on Wednesday has issued a statement aiming to reassure people living nearby.

A blaze broke out at F&R Cawley, in the Finedon Road Industrial Estate, Wellingborough, just before 7am.

F&R Cawley, Wellingborough

F&R Cawley, Wellingborough

Stakeholders from the firm, Northamptonshire County Council, the Borough Council of Wellingborough, the fire service and the Environment Agency attended a meeting yesterday (Thursday) to discuss the impact of the fire, which will continue to burn for up to a fortnight.

In a statement, F&R Cawley said: “During the meeting fire fighting tactics were discussed and all stakeholders were in agreement the strategies in place are appropriate and proportionate. The strategic aim is to ensure the fire is contained to the property and extinguished and to retain significant pollution such as fire water to the site.

“The tactics being employed by the fire service is to contain the fire to its original location and cool boundaries and heavy plant equipment being used to separate the burning from the non-burning waste product.

“Fire service and Cawleys staff are using the plant equipment to break up the burning waste into smaller manageable piles so that the product can burn more freely producing less smoke while giving the fire fighters a greater surface area of burning product onto which they can apply water.

“It is envisaged that the fire will continue in its current controlled state for two weeks while it is extinguished.Where nothing on your plate goes to waste.”

Environmental Health at Wellingborough Council have obtained advice from Public Health England for those concerned about the health effects of the smoke.

Any smoke can be an irritant and as such, if people need to be outdoors, they are advised to avoid outside areas affected by any smoke or ash, or to limit the time that they spend in them.

Some of the substances present in smoke can irritate the lining of the air passages, the skin and the eyes. Respiratory symptoms include coughing and wheezing, breathlessness, phlegm production and chest pain. If symptoms occur, people should seek medical advice or call NHS 111.

Chemicals in the smoke can worsen existing health problems like asthma.

Alan Colledge, technical manager at F&R Cawley, said: “At 6.45am on Wednesday the outbreak of a small fire was identified within the nonhazardous material awaiting treatment and consolidation stored at our Nielson Road site.

“This very quickly spread and the fire brigade were immediately called. They promptly attended our site and took control of the situation and we have been working closely with fire brigade, Environment Agency and local authority in providing our specialist waste handling equipment to help keep the fire well under control.”

Luke Hodson, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service. “Fires of this type tend to be problematic in that they usually involve large quantities of comingled materials piled high and burning fiercely.

“The use of large volumes of water has a tendency to wet the top surface of the pile of the materials but not to penetrate more than a few inches into the stack so the tactic of breaking up the product into small parcels and spreading it out and applying water is, in my experience the most effective way of dealing

with fires such as this.”