Recycling plant blaze will not be put out before the New Year, say firefighters (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Company apologises to local residents
THE owners of a wood recycling plant which has been on fire since Christmas Eve have apologised to nearby residents after confirming it will continue to burn until after the New Year.
The blaze, which is not thought to be suspicious, broke out at UK Wood Recycling, on the Wilton International site near Redcar, on December 24 and is being controlled and managed by Cleveland Fire Brigade.
A full investigation is also to be launched looking at how the fire broke out – although it is not understood to be suspicious.
The fire brigade said allowing the blaze to burn itself out under controlled conditions was the best course of action in terms of public safety and minimising the impact on local residents.
George Dunning, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said he had met with the company, the fire brigade, public health officials and Wilton site owners Semb Corp Utilities this morning (Monday December 30) and agreed that aggressively fighting the blaze would lead to more smoke – and further problems for local residents.
He said: “Our first priority has got to be public health and people with breathing problems such as asthma are being affected by the smoke in the air.
"To aggressively fight the fire would lead to more smoke, so it is best to take a softly softly approach with it, which means it may burn for another four or five days.”
The fire brigade said their presence would be needed for about another five days, but that the smoke coming off the stack should be diminishing with each day that passes.
Vicki Hughes, Group Business Development Director for UK Wood Recycling, said: "Once again UK Wood Recycling would like to apologise to local residents for the ongoing issues that have been caused by this fire.
"Our immediate concern has obviously been with regards to the impact this incident has had on local residents and our staff, but going forward we are still very committed to the local area and will be working with everyone concerned to learn any lessons we can.
"We are not going to hide away from the public with regards to this fire, its cause or the lessons we do learn, and when the fire is out and the investigation is over we will communicate those lessons and what we are doing about them publicly."
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