Fires break out at SUEZ and Viridor sites

A total of 31 staff were safely evacuated from SUEZ Environnement’s materials recycling facility (MRF) in Avonmouth this morning (July 23) after a fire broke out involving one of its waste compactors.

And, in Manchester, a fire in a Viridor waste transfer station in Tameside was also being tackled by firefighters.

One of the fires erupted at SUEZ's MRF, located near Avonmouth Docks
One of the fires erupted at SUEZ’s MRF, located near Avonmouth Docks


No one was injured in the SUEZ MRF fire, which was contained to a warehouse and has now been extinguished. Deliveries to the MRF will be suspended for the rest of the day.

Over 55 firefighters and 11 fire engines and support vehicles were called to the Merebank Road site near Bristol at 6am, where they used breathing apparatus and water jets to bring the blaze under control.

Members of the public living or working near Avonmouth, a major shipping hub in the South West region, were asked to close doors and windows due to smoke plumes from the site.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service confirmed no one had been injured in the fire, and was working with SUEZ to establish how the fire started.

A fire service spokesperson said: “The fire is now out and the Service’s attendance at the scene has been reduced, however a number of crews will remain at the site for some time damping down. An investigation into the cause of the fire will take place this morning.”

Opened in 2013, SUEZ’s £22 million MRF sorts and bales around 80,000 tonnes of mixed dry recyclables per year, including tins, plastic bottles, cardboard and paper. The plant is one of several recycling and waste recovery facilities in the vicinity.

A SUEZ spokesperson added: “The fire brigade was alerted as soon as the fire was discovered and the 31 staff on site at the time all exited safely.

“The Fire & Rescue Service promptly attended the scene and we thank the fire-fighters involved for their work in extinguishing the fire. When the Fire & Rescue Service gives us the all clear to re-enter the building we will be able to assess the damage. We expect that to be later this afternoon.”


Elsewhere, firefighters were also called to Viridor’s Bayley Street transfer loading station, in Tameside, Greater Manchester.

At about 05:30 this morning Viridor personnel reported the fire which was within the residual and bulky waste at the transfer loading station.

Fire engines from the Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service attended site and as of about 10.00 am this morning, Viridor said that the fire has now been extinguished.

Commenting, Jennifer Baker, Viridor communications manager said: “With a fire reported by site personnel at Bayley Street, Transfer Loading Station this morning, staff followed established response plans and notified emergency services.

“The incident occurred within the residual / bulky waste area inside the Transfer Loading Station Building, the fire was under control within one hour of being reported, the recycling centre on the same site has now re-opened from 10.25.

“With the site managing non-hazardous domestic and trade waste, there was no risk to public health.”

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