Tyre fire at Littleport is finally out, exactly seven weeks after it started

THE fire at the tyre reprocessing plant in Wisbech Road, Littleport is now out, exactly seven weeks after it began. Firefighters have worked in difficult conditions to extinguish in excess of 2000 tonnes of shredded rubber product which caught light on Au

THE fire at the tyre reprocessing plant in Wisbech Road, Littleport is now out, exactly seven weeks after it began.

Firefighters have worked in difficult conditions to extinguish in excess of 2000 tonnes of shredded rubber product which caught light at Murfitts tyre yard on August 21.

Chief Fire Officer Graham Stagg said today: "This has been an extremely challenging incident for us and I would like to thank the people of Littleport for their patience over the last few weeks.

"We have worked extremely closely with the Environment Agency, Health Protection Agency, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Police and Health and Safety Executive to tackle the fire in the quickest and safest way for everyone.


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"I fully appreciate that conditions have not been very pleasant for local people working and living in the area and I am pleased to be able to give the news that the fire is now out."

Graham continued: "Fighting fires is a complex job and this has not only been the most challenging incident we have had to face in Cambridgeshire but there has not been an incident of this nature and size in the country before.

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"I can appreciate it has been difficult for people to understand why we couldn't just put a lot of water on it as we do most other fires but I would also hope that people would trust that if it was as simple as that we would have done so.

"Although the fire is out the incident has not concluded, it just moves into the clean up phase now and this may take some time as the large quantities of contaminated ash, water and material on the site need to be transported off the site in a safe and responsible way. As agencies, we will continue to monitor this operation."

The fire started just before 3pm on Friday August 21. For the initial firefighting operation, 10 fire engines and a number of specialist vehicles attended.

Due to the large plume of thick black smoke residents were told to stay out of the smoke and keep doors and windows closed, and police officers evacuated the immediate area.

A few days on firefighters were able to get nearer to the piles and discovered a method of extinguishing the fire in small sections, using heavy machinery to scrape away the edges of the piles and douse in water to cool.

Since then, firefighters have worked with the operators of the heavy machinery provided by the site owner to continue the process of breaking up the piles in small sections at a time.

Throughout the operation, the fire service has worked together with the other agencies.

The Health Protection Agency has issued advice to residents and businesses who have suffered with the effect of the smoke.

The Environment Agency provided technical support to the fire service throughout the incident.

East Cambridgeshire District Council has carried out a number of roles during the ongoing incident. The Council's housing team offered temporary accommodation for those worst affected.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has provided advice on the workplace risks arising from the fire. This has included providing specific information on the risks to firefighters and others working on the site, including the type of respiratory protection needed working so close to the smoke and burning material.

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