Waste fire smoulders on
Updated 10:32am Friday 25th July 2014 in By Dominic Gilbert
A SPOKESMAN for Averies Recycling has apologised to residents for inconvenience caused by the blaze which erupted at the site on Monday evening and continues to burn.
Fire crews have removed what waste they can from the site and will now begin attacking the blaze fully once more in an attempt to put out the flames as soon as possible.
They have been on site since Monday evening when the fire began, and reduced their pumps from four to one in that time as they suppress the spread of the blaze.
Firefighters have been unable to excavate the affected pile of waste properly due to a lack of space on the site, so have restricted their efforts to fire suppression until yesterday afternoon.
Two pumps then began actively attacking the blaze, breaking down the pile of waste, leading to an increase in the acrid smoke billowing around the area.
Firefighting was reduced again to one pump overnight and began again in earnest this morning.
It is expected that the operation will take several days to conclude.
In a statement, Dr Mark Evans, from Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire PHE Centre and Dr Ayoola Oyinloye, of the Swindon Council Public Health Team, said: “Residents in areas affected by the smoke should stay indoors, keep doors and windows closed, and visit the Swindon Council website for further advice and information.
“Motorists who have to travel through the smoke should keep windows closed, turn off air conditioning and keep their air vents closed.
“Any smoke can be an irritant and if people need to be outdoors in the Swindon area, they are advised to avoid areas affected by the 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 difficulty in breathing and chest pain.
“If people experience these symptoms, they should seek medical advice through their GP or call NHS 111.
“The smoke can worsen existing health problems like asthma, COPD and cardiac problems. People who have asthma should carry their inhaler.”
Staff at the firm which owns the waste site say they are working with the authorities and their priority is to extinguish the fire.
Lee Averies said: “I am very disappointed and very tired. We haven’t had much sleep but we are trying to contain what is happening. It is a difficult time for those on site, our immediate neighbours, and the community.”
The company has a history of health and safety breaches, was fined £73,000 for a breach dating from 2010, and has seen its other site, Swindon Skips, subject to fire just months ago in October.
“To put things into perspective there were some breaches years ago, and there was a fine last year for dust problems back in 2010.
“There was fire at Swindon Skips, which we believe was down to arson.”
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