Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Plastics fire continues at South Yorkshire recycling centre

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Media captionFirefighters remain at the scene of a large fire which started at a recycling centre on Monday

Fire crews remain at the scene of a blaze in a recycling centre that sent acrid black smoke billowing over homes near Rotherham.

About 500 tonnes of plastic, metals and other materials caught light at Universal Recycling on Wharf Road in Kilnhurst on Monday.

South Yorkshire Fire Service said although the surface fire had been subdued, scrap metal and plastic alight underneath was causing more smoke.

A safety cordon remains in place.

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The fire started on Monday morning with thick black smoke billowing hundreds of metres in the air, visible for miles.

Image copyright Syfr
Image caption The fire service said the smoke was likely to get worse before it got better
Image caption Some of the staff from the recycling centre have returned to work with masks to protect them from the smoke

Police, fire and Rotherham Council have held a meeting to decide what to do next.

More than 30 fire fighters attended the blaze at its height, and about 20 were on site on Tuesday.

Local transport services were disrupted on Monday and people were evacuated from their homes, or advised to stay away.

Image copyright Syfr
Image caption Thick black smoke billowed from the fire at Universal Recycling on Monday
Image copyright Matt dawson
Image caption Residents were told to find alternative accommodation on Monday, as their homes were shrouded in smoke

Incident commander Claire Duke said a large grab from the recycling centre had been used to pull apart about a third of the plastic and metal bales, but the operation had to be scaled down after dark.

Work has begun again, which Ms Duke said could create more black smoke. She said a turntable ladder would be used to drench the burning material from above, once it had been pulled apart.

Image caption The burning plastic and metal bales are being pulled apart and drenched with water

Residents have been asked to remain away, if possible.

A support centre has been set up at Kilnhurst Resource Centre on Victoria Street.

There is no blanket ban on people returning home, but houses nearest the recycling centre were evacuated on Monday night.

Ms Duke said earlier: "We hope to resume more aggressive fire-fighting this morning and make headway into the remaining pile.

Image caption The fire started on Monday morning at Universal Recycling on Wharf Road in Kilnhurst

The smoke is white because the surface fire has been put out.

Ms Duke said the smoke was likely to get worse before it got better.

An investigation into the cause of the fire will not begin until the fire is out.

The Environment Agency said it had checked local air, land and water quality and was satisfied the fire had been contained.

It also confirmed the fire service's waste water was not contaminating nearby waterways and rivers.

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