Video: Fire chief speaks of tackling one of the most difficult fires seen in Fenland for many years

FIRE chief Chris Strickland said today a fire at a Fenland tyre recycling depot involved some of the most unusual material I have experienced in 25 years with the fire service . Mr Strickland, deputy chief fire officer for Cambridgeshire, said that the i

FIRE chief Chris Strickland said today a fire at a Fenland tyre recycling depot involved "some of the most unusual material I have experienced in 25 years with the fire service".

Mr Strickland, deputy chief fire officer for Cambridgeshire, said that the intense heat of the fire and the compact nature of the tyres "have proved very difficult to extinguish.

"The fire has reached in excess of 700 degrees at its core so we have had to isolate small sections with heavy machinery and fully submerge the tyres in water to ensure that they don't re-ignite."

Mr Strickland was speaking at a press conference this afternoon called to explain how the fire service was tackling the blaze at Murfitts Industries in Littleport which broke out on August 21 and is still alight.


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However he believes it could be finally extinguished within a month, and to date fire crews had managed to extinguish around 50 per cent of the blaze and were confident that the remainder of the pile would be out by October.

"If we continue to make the progress we have been making in recent days I am confident that we will be able to have the fire under control within three or four weeks," said Mr Strickland.

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Fire crews have also explored various other methods of tackling the blaze including smothering the tyres with sand, but Mr Strickland said that many of the alternatives they had looked at would mean the fire would continue to burn for several years.

Investigations into the cause of the fire are also underway at the site but have failed, as yet, to yield any answers and are expected to continue for several weeks.

The blaze started when 200 tonnes of shredded tyres caught fire at the small industrial site in Wisbech Road. More than a dozen crews from across the district were called to help tackle the blaze, which sent vast plumes of smoke billowing into the sky.

The smoke, which has been pouring from the site for almost a month, has continued to cause concern among local people, many of whom have been exposed to the smoke for several weeks.

The Health Protection Agency has continued to reiterate its advice, warning nearby residents to keep windows and doors shut while urging businesses within 500 metres of the site to close.

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