Fire crews tackle former Cummins unit blaze for third day

Thick smoke can be seen across the isle Photo John L Gibson

Fire crews are continuing to deal with the blaze at the former Cummins unit on Westwood Industrial Estate today (September 17) but the number of engines onsite has now reduced to four.

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

Photo Tyrone Keen

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

Baled waste Photo David Rankin

He said the blaze has been fed because the unit is ‘packed from front to back with ‘flammable waste.’ Yesterday crews were dragging out the waste bales so that firefighters could get water directly onto them.

Photo Chloe Nicholson

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 KFRS

A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “Good progress is being made, but the advice for people living and working nearby to keep windows and doors closed, remains in place due to the large amount of smoke still in the area.”

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

Photo John Horton

The cause of the blaze is not yet known. There will be an investigation once it has been extinguished.

Photo David Rankin

A Kent Police spokesman said: “Kent Police is continuing to liaise with Kent Fire and Rescue Service and other agencies to ensure an effective response and once the fire has been put out we will work alongside KFRS to establish the cause.”

Road closures

 Photo Jon Brooks

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

1 Comment

  1. What the heck is stored in there and by whom ? There are some questions that need answering here. If it had been reported to the authorities back last January then why no action? This could have been avoided!
    The smoke has been blowing over Margate all weekend and today with an acrid smell to it. Hopefully it will be out soon.

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