Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Firefighters battle to save recycling site

Firefighters from across East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service have been battling through the night to save Sussex Skips from a devastating fire.

Flames swept through the buildings after rubbish caught fire at the site in Newhaven, which could be seen from miles away.

At the height of the fire around 50 firefighters and eight fire engines, along with two Aerial Ladder Platforms, attended the incident at 12.40am after an alarm was activated.

Crews successfully worked with the owners of the site to save essential office information, along with millions of pounds worth of machinery, which will enable to business to trade again once the clear-up has been completed.

Crews faced particularly tough firefighting conditions and have been praised by Brighton & Hove’s Borough Commander, Mark Rist, who said:

“The crews did a fantastic job in saving a vast majority of the site and stemming the flow of contaminated water running off.

“It has been an arduous incident as we had to lift water for fire fighting from the nearby river. As it became light this morning the morning dew caused heavy smoke to sit over the area on the main site and the railway for a couple of hours, until sun light lifted the dew. 

 “We also had a considerable amount of water running off, which was contaminated by debris from fire, which we are managing to contain to protect the nearby environment. We are working closely with Environment Agency, Southern Water and the site owners to determine where to put the water run-off so it does not pollute the river.”

Crews have also been using firefighting foam (1 in 7 foam) to minimise the use of water.

Mark added: “This is fantastic to use at incidents such as this as, not only does it suppress the fire without using large amounts of water but reduces the smoke plume"

The incident has now been scaled down but crews will be there for several hours checking for any potential hotspots. Crews are working with the owners who are using a large excavator to lift sections of the charred remains, enabling firefighters to damp down effectively. A full re-inspection will take place later on today.

A full fire investigation got underway at midday today and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is working closely with Sussex Police who are carrying out forensic examinations of the scene today.

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