UPDATED: Firefighters tackle blaze at waste site

Firefighters used thermal imaging cameras to guide them through a smoke-filled warehouse during a blaze last night (Monday).

By Lindsay Pantry
Tuesday, 10th December 2013, 10:27 am
Fire at Sita Waste Management, Dewsbury
December 9 2013
Fire at Sita Waste Management, Dewsbury December 9 2013

Crews were called to the SITA UK’s Waste Transfer Site on Weaving Lane, off Thornhill Road, Thornhill Lees, shortly after 7pm.

Heavy smoke was coming from the building but at first firefighters struggled to get access.

Watch Commander Anthony Woodhead said: “When we arrived thick black smoke was pouring out the eaves of a big warehouse building. Unfortunately because the electrics were kicked off the big roller shutter doors were unoperable and we couldn’t gain access through normal means”.”

Firefighters from the specialist aerial appliance team at Cleckheaton eventually gained access to the building by cutting through the shutters, and firefighters had to use thermal imaging cameras to make their way through the building.

Six fire engines from Dewsbury, Mirfield, Bradford, Morley, Batley, Ossett, Hunslet and elsewhere attended the scene and at its height, ten teams of firefighters using breathing apparatus were fighting the fire. Four support crews also attended.

Watch Commander Woodhead said: “At first there was a lot of smoke. There was a lot of machinery inside to get past and the fire itself was a huge pile of waste towards the back of the building. The building continued to pour out smoke the entire time we were there.

“The majority of the work was done with the use of a thermal imaging cameras. It worked really well, it enabled them to put out the fire without putting themselves in danger. We could not even see the seat of the fire, so it would’ve been impossible without the skilled use of the cameras.”

Before they gained access to the fire, crews removed gas cylinders from a nearby workshop to stop the fire spreading.

No one was at the building at the time of the fire and crews remained on the scene throughout the night,

The cause of the fire is not yet known, and fire investigators were at the scene gathering evidence last night,

Five crews remain in attendance at the site this morning (Tuesday), as well as the aerial appliance and the Technical Rescue Unit.

Station Commander Steve Fealy said: “We are working with the site staff to allow business continuity whilst tackling the fire. The operation currently involves dragging out smouldering waste and then extinguishing it which is the most effective way of dealing with these types of fires.

“There is no chance of it spreading. Crews have saved the fire from spreading from the warehouse to an office block.

“A fire investigation officer is on the scene looking into the cause.

“Nobody has been hurt. However, please be aware the road may well be closed for a good while.”

People are being advised to use alternative recycling sites at Nab Lane, Birstall and Emerald Street, Huddersfield.