Crews tackle ‘large fire’ at Grist Environmental’s Stert site

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service says a “large fire” involving 200-300 tonnes of residual waste at Grist Environmental’s site in the village of Stert, near Devizes, is now “under control”.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service says the fire involved 200-300 tonnes of residual waste (picture: Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service)

The fire service confirmed the company involved and says it was called to the site at 11:10pm yesterday (17 November).

As of 6am today, the operation has been scaled back to one fire engine and one water carrier. The fire service says it will remain on scene for “a number of days” to provide a watching brief.

Once alerted to the incident, three fire crews were mobilised to the scene, including two from Devizes and one from Calne, along with a Command Support Unit from Swindon and two water carriers from Pewsey and Royal Wootton Bassett.

On arrival, the first crews used two main jets to prevent escalation of the blaze. On-site staff assisted using loading shovel machinery to create fire breaks in the pile of waste, the fire service said, working with firefighters to help contain the fire.

The fire service’s group manager, Richard Coleman, said: “We are advising local residents to keep doors and windows closed due to the smoke in the area.

“As this fire will be ongoing for a number of days, we will update the public with any concerns regarding the smoke should they arise.”

The fire is under investigation and is believed to have started accidentally, the fire service says. However, it adds that the exact cause “may never be established”.

MRF

In a statement, Grist Environmental’s sales director Paul Mortimer told letsrecycle.com that the “small but controlled fire” took place at the company’s materials recycling facility (MRF) in Devizes.

Mr Mortimer said the fire was on a concrete floor enclosed by concrete walls and surrounded by a soil bund on two sides, with sealed drainage on site. He said the waste involved was destined for recovery at an energy from waste facility in Aylesbury.

No-one was injured and no property was damaged, Mr Mortimer said. He added that fire breaks were in place to remove any chance of the fire spreading.

He said: “The cause of the fire has not yet been established, but this reinforces the need for everyone to be vigilant in making sure that no batteries are ever placed in any waste containers, whether that is a skip or a wheelie bin.

“The company would like to take this opportunity to thank Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue service and the Environment Agency for their swift and supportive guidance and for introducing systems that minimise the risks from fires in waste management companies.”

Wiltshire

Established in 1972, Wiltshire-based Grist Environmental specialises in the collection of construction and demolition wastes, as well as commercial waste and automotive services.

It also offers services including skip hire, wheelie bin hire, scrap metal processing, and hazardous waste collections.

The company says it operates a specialist fleet and a licensed MRF in Devizes.

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