European Metal Recycling (EMR) Ltd has said operations at its Darlaston operating centre in the West Midlands are back up and running after a fire on Tuesday.
The incident at the Bentley Road South site saw 10 fire engines and more than 50 fire fighters attending the scene, with witnesses reporting “a plume of black smoke billowing across the West Midlands skyline”.
” This type of fire is not uncommon in our industry. It is an inherent problem – even now that cars are being depolluted and fluids removed. “
– Graeme Carus, EMR
The fire saw local roads being closed and long tail-backs on the M6 motorway, with people in the area urged to keep doors and windows closed.
The site includes a fridge recycling plant installed in 2003, which can process around 60 fridges an hour, and also handles ferrous and non ferrous metal, waste electronics and end-of-life vehicles.
The West Midlands Fire Service said it was called out at 2.37pm to deal with the “severe” fire, which involved around 2,000 cubic metres of scrap cars and household white goods. Fire fighters spent most of the night tackling the flames.
Fire service spokesman Mike Fox told letsrecycle.com: “It was an accidental fire; we believe that it was started in a car that was about to be crushed that hadn't had its oil and fluids removed.”
Graeme Carus, business development director at EMR, told letsrecycle.com that fire damage was confined to the scrap itself, and that there was “no damage to the infrastructure at all”, including the site's fridge recycling plant.
He said the company took the risk of fire “very seriously indeed”, and that EMR had rigorous checks and balances in place to prevent fires. On this occasion he said EMR had co-operated fully with the fire service and added that there had been “never been any danger to anyone”.
Mr Carus said: “There was a fire in the frag (ferrous metal) feed, but it was dealt with by the fire brigade – it was just that it got a hold, so they had to work at it. This type of fire is not uncommon in our industry. It is an inherent problem – even now that cars are being depolluted and fluids removed.”