Crews first arrived to the scene at the Old Eldon Brickworks facility at 5am on Monday where the fire department said approximately 4,000 tonnes of waste was on fire.
A spokesperson for County Durham and Darlington Fire Rescue Service (CDDFRC) told letsrecycle today (4 September): “At this time we are continuing to maintain a presence at the scene working alongside partners from Environment Agency, Durham County Council and Public Health England to manage a controlled burn and mitigate risk to the public and the environment.”
The fire department said on Tuesday (1 September) that they were extinguishing smaller piles of waste at a time, however that due to the “extremely large amount of waste involved” they were expected to continue operations for a “considerable amount of time”.
CDDFRC advised local residents to keep doors and windows closed due to “large amounts of smoke and possible hazardous materials being involved”.
Crews and senior officers from Bishop Auckland, Spennymore and Peterlee attended the scene.
At this time the cause of the fire is unknown.
UPDATE: We're still in attendance at a large fire in the Eldon area of Bishop Auckland and are expected to be for a considerable amount of time. Residents who live in the area are advised to continue to keep windows and doors closed. See more in image below: pic.twitter.com/YftQUoCDVj
— County Durham & Darlington Fire & Rescue Service (@CDDFRS) September 1, 2020
Operations at the material recycling facility (MRF) are currently carried out by waste management company Falcons Management Ltd, which acquired the site in 2019.
The Brickworks has the capacity to process up to 300,000 tonnes per year and has been operating as a recycling plant since 2016.
It was reported locally that an enforcement notice was issued on the recycling plant just weeks before the fire broke out.
It is believed that the enforcement notice was issued due to the unauthorised use of the land for the storage and importing of waste.
We are continuing to work with colleagues @CDDFRS on a fire at the former Eldon Brickworks site. There is no risk to the public, but residents in the area are advised to keep windows and doors closed and avoid the immediate area.https://t.co/FvKnXBwzvL
— Durham County Council (@DurhamCouncil) September 2, 2020