Birmingham & Black Country

Saltley recycling site fire sees more than 800 tonnes ablaze

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Media captionHuge recycling yard fire breaks out in Birmingham

Up to 800 tonnes of metal and plastic is ablaze at a recycling plant in Birmingham with huge plumes of smoke visible across the city.

More than 100 firefighters were sent to tackle the fire at EMR in Saltley, West Midlands Fire Service said.

Power supplies to 4,000 homes were cut off at 19:45 BST because the site of the fire is underneath pylons.

Emergency services were alerted at about 14:00 BST. Residents were advised told to keep doors and windows shut.

National Grid staff is also at the scene because of concerns about a gas main next to a nearby canal.

The fire service said it believed the blaze started accidentally.

Image copyright West Midlands Fire Service
Image caption The fire was still not out as night fell on Tuesday

A spokesman for Western Power Distribution, which supplies power in the area, told BBC News initial fears that 40,000 homes could be affected were allayed after it temporarily re-routed power around the network.

More updates on this and other stories in Birmingham and the Black Country

Properties in the Nechells and Saltley area were affected, but by 20:50 BST, only five properties were left without power, the spokesman said.

Image copyright West Midlands Fire Service
Image caption The fire service said crews were working in dangerous conditions

There are now 10 fire engines at the scene in Clarel Avenue. Seventeen were needed at the fire's peak.

BBC WM producer Kevin Pashby tweeted video of smoke billowing into the sky.

West Midlands Fire Service tweeted: "The guys and girls are working really hard to stop this spreading. In dangerous conditions, lots of pops and bangs."

The fire service urged people to stop calling after receiving more than 100 999 calls.

Staff from the Environment Agency, which regulates the site, are at the scene because of initial concerns over pollution.

Image copyright West Midlands Fire Service
Image caption More than 100 firefighters are tackling the blaze
Image copyright West Midlands Fire Service
Image caption Crews were alerted at about 14:00 BST

Neil Johnston, West Midlands Fire Service station commander, said he expected crews to remain at the scene for several days because of the severity of the fire.

From the scene: BBC Midlands Today's Elizabeth Glinka:

There are huge flames and plumes of black smoke coming from the fire with more fire engines arriving at the scene every few minutes.

I believe there are over 100 firefighters here now along with other emergency crews and Network Rail as there are two rail lines nearby.

I've seen a train approach very, very slowly as it has gone through the smoke, although we believe services are managing to get through.

Public Health England has also been called to the scene.

There are no reports of injuries.

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