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Firefighters tackle deep-seated fires at plastics recycling warehouse
AN inferno which ripped through a Widnes recycling centre last week is still smouldering deep beneath 30ft high stacks of waste materials, say fire chiefs.
Residents are being advised by Halton Council to keep doors and windows closed.
Firefighters from across Cheshire are working round the clock to extinguish burning bundles of plastic at JL Sortings in Johnsons Lane, Halton View, 11 days after the blaze broke out.
Warehouses on the site have been left unsafe from the ferocious blaze which, at its height, was fought by 60 firefighters and 15 fire engines.
Widnes fire station manager Andy Royle said: “Buildings have been weakened by fire and extreme temperatures and are liable to collapse.
“We’re working with demolition contractors to remove pockets of fire in stacks of waste material which are deep seated, all of which are unstable. Some are 30ft high. There are a number of buildings. It is an extremely difficult task.
“We are keeping a constant presence on the site. Safety is paramount.
“There are still access problems. We are working as quickly as we can.”
Fire chiefs and health and safety experts meet on site daily to review the situation.
Halton Council leader Clr Rob Polhill praised crews for their professionalism.
He said: “The fire service did an excellent job. They saved surrounding buildings. Given the strength of the fire, it was great what they achieved.
“The fire impacted on several small businesses. We have helped them out on a temporary basis, providing somewhere for them to park their vehicles.
“This fire is so deep seated, it could take weeks to put it all out safely.”
The Johnsons Lane household waste site remains closed.
Residents are advised to use facilities at Picow Farm Road in Runcorn, where extra containers are in place.
An additional driver is emptying skips to create more space and a JCB is on hand to compact waste to increase capacity.