Emergency services called to Westwood site where firefighters fought 25 day blaze last year

Smoke issuing from the former Hilger unit at Westwood Photo Kye Boughton

Kent Fire and Rescue Service has been called to Westwood Industrial Estate today (April 22) after reports of another fire at the former Hilger Analytical unit which was the site of a 25 day blaze last year.

Smoke was seen coming from the site which last went up in flames on September 15 when 16,000 bales of illegally stored household waste caught fire.

At the height of the inferno 14 fire engines and 80 firefighters were at the scene. Northdown Primary was closed due to “unsafe carbon monoxide readings,” and there were reports of Thanet children complaining of health problems including chest infections and asthma attacks.

Firefighters remained at the site for three weeks as the two-tonne bales, tightly wrapped in plastic, continued to smoulder.

A boy and two girls, all aged 12 from Margate, and a 13-year-old girl from Margate were arrested on suspicion of arson on September 23. All have since been released without charge.

The site owner Conservation Property Holdings, registered in the British Virgin Islands and business rate holder DW Lands are yet to clear the site.

Mounds of debris piled up at the Westwood site. Photo: Frank Leppard

An Environment Agency investigation into the illegally stored waste is ongoing.

Today the fire was much smaller, being confined to rubbish alight in a container.

A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “Kent Fire and Rescue Service was called to a small quantity of rubbish alight in a metal container at the Westwood industrial estate. Crews used a hose reel to extinguish the fire.”


  1. Environmental Agency and TDC have clearly still done nothing to clear the site so taxpayers continue to pick up the tab for the Fire Brigade having to sort the problem out.

    Hopefully we will get some new brooms elected next month – both literally and metaphorically !

    • both have passed the buck back to the property owners as it is their responsibility to clear the site of the waste

      • Agreed – it is the “owner’s” responsibility – but who is the “owner” ? Is it the freehold owner or is it the leasehold owner or is the tenant in occupation ?

        In any event, I believe notices were served on the “0wners” about two years ago to get it cleared (certainly some considerable time before the fire) – buy everybody chose to do nothing.

        Enforcement rests with the authorities – but it is cheaper and easier to do nothing !

    • It is in the Salmestone Ward John, so, if I get elected, I’ll do what I can – doesn’t mean I can sort it, but I’ll do my best.

  2. I thought the owners were told to clear the site!!!
    TDC doing bugger all to enforce their edict,
    as is usual for this ineffective council. The sooner they go, the better.

  3. Remove the waste and bill the owners. If they don’t pay then sell the land and take it from the proceeds. Why are the authorities so slow and ineffective at enforcement?

  4. Candidates for this May’s local election already promising something they cannot fix another bandwagon to jump on. no shame.

  5. As always, TDC sitting on their fat arses and doing absolutely nothing while passing the buck, kicking the can up the road and blaming everybody else.. Clear the site and bill the owners, not a hard thing to do seeing as they have a legal team that is normally used when a councillor sneezes to the wrong person, newspaper or social media site!

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