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The ‘largest blaze’ in the West Midlands

Posted in: Public Liability Workplace Injuries 

In the late hours of last night, the West Midlands Fire Service were called to an emergency, described by many as the biggest fire recorded in the West Midlands.  Fire crews faced a blaze containing around 100,000 tonnes of recycled plastic at an industrial estate in Smethwick.

The cause of the blaze has been blamed on chinese lanterns that have fallen from the sky onto the plastics. Around 200 fire fighters, crews from both Warwickshire and Staffordshire, are still trying to put out the blaze.  So far, nine fire fighters have been treated for injuries, including heat exhaustion.  Another three have been taken to hospital.

Smoke from the fire has climbed 6,000ft into the air – Birmingham International Airport has been informed, but so far no flights have been affected.

Chinese lanterns are unregulated and uncontrolled

Chief fire officer, Vij Randeniya, said: “The heat that’s coming off that fire is tremendous.”  He continued by pushing the dangers of chinese lanterns, as the service has previously campaigned against the use of these: “What you’re doing in an unregulated and uncontrolled way is putting fire in the sky and every now and again it lands on something like this and we’re here for three days,

Fire crews are presently trying to tackle the blaze from the perimeter and surround the fire before putting it out.  Controlling the fire is key to making sure that no other surrounding buildings are affected.  Fire crews warn the industrial estate’s closest residents to keep their windows shut. 

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