Fire crews still at smoke-filled site
5:30am Thursday 24th July 2014 in By Dominic Gilbert
THE blaze at Averies Recycling has entered its third day as firefighters keep the 1,000 tonne pile of waste under control.
The giant pile of general waste at the centre caught fire on Monday evening, and fire crews have been on site ever since while they wind down their efforts.
Four crews have now been reduced to two, but it is expected the fire will be allowed to burn itself down for several days to come while some of the rubbish is excavated.
A spokesman for Wiltshire Fire and Rescue said: “There have been two fire crews at the site since Tuesday evening, and efforts are continuing to suppress the fire and protect neighbouring buildings. Efforts are being made to reduce the amount of waste on site, so that the burning rubbish can be excavated and extinguished, but it is expected that the fire will continue to burn for several days at least.”
Public Health England and the Environment Agency, who have been monitoring air quality, said: “The monitoring near Averies shows brief spikes in levels of particulate matter but, overall, levels are below the point at which they may impact public health.
“Our analysis of other pollutants has not identified any potential for an impact on public health. We continue to advise that people in the affected areas should minimise their exposure to the smoke where possible.”
Smoke is still rising from the site and local people are advised to keep doors and windows closed if they are concerned about the plume, especially if they have a pre-existing respiratory condition. Anyone who thinks their health is being affected should contact their GP or call 111.
Local people are also advised that footpaths immediately around the site have been closed by Swindon Borough Council as a safety precaution and these closures should be adhered to.
Residents near to the site are keeping to safety precautions and said they hope the plumes of smoke are cleared sooner rather than later.
Julie Cox, 56, of Shrivenham Road, said: “Last night the wind changed and it has carried over us, so it is a lot more noticeable.
“I shan’t be sitting out in my garden today, that’s for sure. I suffer from asthma but it doesn’t seem to be affecting me too much. I would like to put my washing out but that’s not going to happen. It’s just one of those things really, you just have to wait it out.”
Sophie Hetter, 17, of Shrivenham Road, is also a sufferer of asthma.
“The smell is still very pungent,” she said. “We haven’t really noticed the smoke, it is the smell which really gets to you.
“For me in particular because I am asthmatic I wanted to be extra careful, but I haven’t noticed a significant difference thankfully. Anything can set it off, especially at night because you don’t notice you are breathing it in and you don’t want to close the windows in this heat.
“You have always got to be careful, especially with smoke. It’s just about staying indoors if you are at all vulnerable. So far it has not been too much of an inconvenience, but I am hoping it doesn’t go on for too long.”
l There was no answer from company owner Lee Averies when we tried to contact him yesterday.
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