22 July 2020 by Joshua Doherty

Fire sees West Sussex HWRC temporarily closed

West Sussex county council has said the Viridor-run household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) in Crawley will remain closed for “at least a week” following a fire on Friday, July 17.

The fire service said they were called to the fire on Metcalf Way shortly before 19:00 on Friday, and a stop notice was issued at 06:55 the next day.

Around 40 tonnes of waste was affected and there were no reports of any injuries.

Local residents were warned to keep their windows closed due to smoke.

Damage

However, in a statement yesterday afternoon (21 July), the council said the facility will now remain closed “for at least a week” to inspect the extent of the damage.

“People who were planning to visit the site this week are being advised to instead safely store their waste”

West Sussex county council

“People who were planning to visit the site this week are being advised to instead safely store their waste, or to go to an alternative West Sussex site,” the council says.

The nearby HWRC at Horsham will temporarily be open on Tuesday and Wednesday to help local residents to dispose of their recycling and waste, but will not be able to accept vehicles with trailers.

Residents are asked to store their waste wherever possible, and to make full use of kerbside collections, rather than making longer journeys to dispose of their waste.

The statement also said the most likely cause of waste fires are from hot coals, gas canisters, and batteries, including lithium ion batteries commonly found in products such as eCigarettes, mobile phones, toys, cameras and laptop computers.

“West Sussex county council asks residents to dispose of these items responsibly, for example batteries can be placed in the designated battery disposal facilities at recycling centres,” the statement said.

The site was also hit by a fire in 2008, when a fire which hit the building risked it “collapsing”, according to a statement from the fire service (see letsrecycle.com story).

Investigation

A spokesperson for Viridor said: “A fire was reported at Viridor’s Household Waste Recycling Site in Crawley at 7.10pm on Friday, 17 July, 2020.  The site was closed at the time and there were no injuries.

“The West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, supported by an onsite Viridor team, had two tenders attending to the fire overnight and the fire was extinguished at 6am the next day (Saturday, 18 July 2020).

“Viridor is grateful to the West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service for its assistance.

“An investigation as to the cause of the fire is underway. The known causes of waste site fires include hot coals, gas canisters, and batteries, including lithium ion batteries (commonly found in a variety of products such as eCigarettes, mobile phones, toys, cameras and laptop computers). Viridor asks people to responsibly dispose of these batteries, using designated battery disposal facilities at the recycling sites.”

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