Prescot warehouse fire: Blaze at hazardous waste site

Plume of smoke near the motorway caused by fire Image copyright Jon Knipe
Image caption North West Motorway Police said the fire was not affecting visibility on the M57 yet but it was being monitored

A huge blaze has engulfed a warehouse which handles hazardous waste, sending huge plumes of smoke into the sky.

Explosions have been heard coming from the Remondis site on Carr Lane, Prescot, Merseyside, since the fire started at about 06:00 GMT.

Fire crews have not yet confirmed what materials are handled at the site but have advised residents nearby to keep doors and windows closed.

Forty business premises at Prescot Business Park have been evacuated.

Half of the building is alight and part of the building is beginning to collapse, the fire service said. No injuries have been reported.

'Audible explosion'

The fire service said up to 80 firefighters were tackling the blaze at its height.

It said the site which was built in 2012 could "burn for days".

"We have made good progress. The smoke has reduced and we are receiving advice from the Environment Agency on any risks to health," said the fire service.

It added any residents with pre-existing medical issues or residents with concerns about the smoke's impact on their health should contact the NHS 111 service or their GP surgery.

Image copyright Bang the Drum CIC
Image caption Forty business premises have been evacuated at Prescot Business Park

Earlier, police tweeted pictures showing a plume of dark-coloured smoke arching over the M57 near junction 2.

Twitter user Ubik said: "Audible explosions still being heard in surrounding area".

North West Motorway Police said visibility on the motorway was not affected but was being monitored.

Image copyright Jessica-Faye Newton
Image caption Residents are being warned to keep their doors and windows closed.

Some roads close to the site have been closed.

The site holds an environmental permit for the treatment, storage, transfer and disposal of hazardous waste.

The Environment Agency said in a statement: "We are working with partner agencies including Merseyside Police, Public Health England and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to ensure the risk to people and the environment is minimised."

Remondis UK was unavailable for comment.

Image copyright Bang the Drum CIC
Image caption Residents are being warned to keep their doors and windows closed

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