Monday, 7 December 2009

Council Was Warned of Burton Blaze Risk

The Lincolnshire Echo has reported that officials were warned there was a fire risk at a recycling site months before a major blaze broke out there. Five hundred tonnes of woodchips went up in flames at the site on a farm in Burton, on Monday last week. The fire was still being tackled by firefighters as late as Friday.

Officials at West Lindsey District Council are reported to have not revealed the identity of the firm running the recycling centre there. However, the authority has been forced to defend itself after it was revealed it had previously been warned about concerns that a large pile of wood at the site could pose a fire risk.

Anna Draper, a photographer with the paper, warned the council that the large heaps of wood amassed there were a fire hazard. They report she felt compelled to raise the alert after a large fire broke out at a recycling plant at Hemswell Cliff earlier in the year.

In an email sent on Tuesday, 1st September 2009 and later forwarded to the county's fire service and the Environment Agency, she said:
"I travel to Lincoln almost every day via Till Bridge Lane and Burton Road,
and over the months I have seen a massive pile of what I believe to be wood
piling up and getting bigger and bigger.

"From the road, one of the piles looks to be significantly higher than the
nearby industrial building.

"Although it is quite a distance from the road, the massive size of the
piles make it quite noticeable .

"Obviously I'm no expert but I am sure that this is a fire hazard."

Three months later, fire broke out at the site, sending clouds of smoke into the county skies.
Officials said they did follow up warnings contained in the e-mail. However, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue said the blaze had been caused by spontaneous combustion, and could therefore not have been prevented.

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