17 November 2020 by James Langley

Dorset loses 16 RCVs in depot fire

Sixteen of Dorset council’s waste collection vehicles were “destroyed or heavily damaged” in a fire at its Crookhill depot in Chickerell on Sunday (15 November).

The fire was brought under control by 17.30 on Sunday, around three hours after Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue says it broke out.

The fire at the depot in Chickerell was brought under control at 17.30 on Sunday (picture: Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue)

The fire service said it had been alerted to the fire after “plumes of black smoke were seen across the Weymouth area and a number of explosions were heard”.

Waste collections were disrupted in the Weymouth and Portland areas yesterday, but resumed today (17 November) after the Dorset Waste Partnership hired temporary waste collection vehicles.

The exact costs of the damage are still being determined, but are “expected to be several million pounds”, the council said.

Council officers are said to have worked “tirelessly” following the fire to hire replacements and clean up the site so it could be used once again.

Dorset council said it wanted to emphasise that resources would be stretched in Weymouth and Portland in the short-term and services could be more prone to disruption than usual in the coming weeks. Some street cleansing services could also be disrupted as specialist large sweeper vehicles are yet to be replaced.

‘Phenomenal achievement’

Councillor Jill Haynes, Dorset council’s portfolio holder for customer services and communities, said: “This is a phenomenal achievement. To lose most of our vehicle fleet at Crookhill but resume the majority of our bin collection services less than two days later is testament to the hard work of all the officers and agencies involved in tackling this incident.

In total, 21 vehicles were destroyed or heavily damaged (picture: Dorset council)

“On behalf of Dorset council and the residents of Weymouth and Portland, well done and thank you.”

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service says the cause of the fire is still unknown. A full investigation began on 16 November.


The main building was said to have only suffered minor smoke damage, while the waste transfer barn was undamaged.

In total, 21 vehicles were destroyed or heavily damaged, with five of these used for cleansing and maintenance.

However, the council says Environment Agency officers attended the site yesterday and were satisfied that the impact to the surrounding environment was minimal.


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