Fire crews at former Cummins unit blaze pull bales from building as operation continues

Smoke over Westwood during the blaze Photo Phil Fellows

Fire crews are continuing to deal with the blaze at the former Cummins unit on Westwood Industrial Estate.

Tightly packed bales stored inside the building are being pulled out, so that firefighters can get water directly onto them.

A KFRS spokesperson said: “During this process there will be some noise, but KFRS will try to keep inconvenience to a minimum and appreciates the support and patience of local residents during this time.

Photo Katie Keen

“There will continue to be smoke in the area and residents are advised to keep doors and windows closed and to avoid the area if they can.”

Crews were called at 6.20am yesterday (September 15) to the blaze. At the height of the fire there were 80 firefighters, 14 engines and specialist vehicles on the scene.

Firefighter Ian Thomson, who was the duty brigade manager at the scene yesterday, said the ‘intense’ fire could mean crews will stay at the scene ‘for days.’

Photo Katie Keen

He said the blaze has been fed because the unit is ‘packed from front to back with ‘flammable waste.’

Fears that the site was a potential fire hazard due to the waste in the building were raised in a BBC report in January. At the time the Environment Agency said it was investigating.

Photo Jon Brooks

Smoke plumes continue to cover the Westwood area as the crews continue in the second day of the operation to contain the flames.

Photo Danny Skeedale

Measures taken to make sure the crew do not tire out include rotating staff. A KFRS spokesperson said: “They do get tired, so it’s important they have regular breaks and keep hydrated, we also rotate crews around and move them around the county to provide the additional support needed.”

Residents have been to the site to give crews water and food.

Photo Tyrone Keen

The cause of the blaze is not yet known.

Road closures

Star Lane closed at the junction of Star Lane Link road – this is likely to remain in place for at least two days.

Nash Road closed at the roundabout junction of Star Lane, will have access only for residents of Wherry Close from the roundabout, all other residents will access from the other end of Nash Lane (junction with Empire Terrace) – this will remain in place for at least two days.

For advice about smoke affected areas click here