Environcom WEEE recycling plant hit by fire

Fire swept through a £2.1 million electronics recycling plant at Grantham in Lincolnshire yesterday, causing police to evacuate neighbours and close a local road.

Environcom's plant, pictured here before the fire, had the capacity to deal with 260,000 tonnes of general WEEE
Environcom’s plant, pictured here before the fire, had the capacity to deal with 260,000 tonnes of general WEEE
As many as 85 firefighters were called at 2.50am on Sunday morning to the Environcom facility at an industrial estate at Houghton Road.

  • Story update (September 17, 3.45pm): Environcom has said it is now reviewing its future with insurance assessors, confirming that its plant was “devastated” by an explosion and subsequent fire. See below for more of the update from Environcom.

The fire was brought under control, with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue scaling down their presence by Sunday evening. There have been no reports of injuries associated with the fire.

But local reports suggest the fire has destroyed the main building of the facility, which was opened by MP Quentin Davies in June 2004.

“Significant”

Mick Green, spokesman for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue confirmed: “We were called to an incident at 2.50am – a report of a fire at a factory. We turned up at the incident to find a significant fire developing throughout the building, which ended up requiring 12 appliances – which is about 70 fire fighters – and two aerial platforms to fight the fire at height, plus some supporting appliances as well, so a total of 85 fire fighters.

“Police say the incident is under control, but the building has collapsed, it's significantly damaged by fire. The issue at the moment is trying to extinguish what fire as remaining and the significant plume from the fire itself,” he said.

Facility

Police say the incident is under control, but the building has collapsed, it's significantly damaged by fire. 

 
Mick Green, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue

The facility, which was to be the first of a network of Environcom plants, used Danish technology and Lindermann shredders to break down waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) into plastics, metals and foam.

The plant had the capacity to recycle 260,000 tonnes of general WEEE each year, as well as 250,000 cathode ray tubes. Equipment being processed at the facility included fridges and washing machines, according to the fire brigade.

Because of the fire and concerns about fumes from burning fridge foam, local residents were evacuated to the Meres Leisure Centre, while the nearby A52 road was closed for several hours.

Environcom

(Updated, September 17, 3.45pm): Environcom directors today met with staff following the fire at the Grantham recycling plant. In a statement issued to letsrecycle.com, the company said none of its employees were on site at the time of the explosion and the cause of the fire has still to be confirmed.

The company said its factory, used for the recycling of household equipment, “has been devastated by the fire and the company is now reviewing its future with insurance assessors and the owners of the site”.

The company said it had been working with the emergency services to help ensure that the situation was dealt with “as safely and speedily as possible and that disruption to local residents is minimised”.

David Simpson, Environcom chairman, said: “We would like to express our sincere thanks to the emergency services for their superb handling of this situation and apologise to local residents for the inconvenience caused. Given the extent of the damage, we will begin consulting with staff immediately about next steps.”

Prior to the fire, Environcom had been working with London Remade to establish plants similar to the Grantham facility in London, under a £25 million plan (see letsrecycle.com story).

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