teeside wood recycling fireAn investigation has been launched by Cleveland Fire Brigade following claims firefighters that left the scene of an ongoing blaze at UK Wood Recycling during the first strike action of 2014.

Firefighters had been battling a blaze at the Wilton-based wood recycling plant since Christmas Eve but it has been reported by The Evening Gazette that a crew left the plant as part of national fire strikes on January 3, leaving a “period of time” before another crew came on to cover.

Cleveland chief Ian Hayton explained: “We understand there has been an anomaly in the crew change arrangements this morning and we are carrying out investigations to establish what happened. I can reassure local people that we take our responsibilities very seriously and will implement any improvements we identify."

He added that crews had been in attendance at the fire at UK Wood Recycling since the early hours of Christmas Day and this had been continuous, including during the periods of strike action.

"Our staff have worked hard to protect surrounding risks and local communities and when necessary our resilience crews made up of auxiliary firefighters and staff choosing not to take strike action have undertaken the same role in the same professional manner," said CFO Hayton

During the latest strike action, part of a series of strikes held by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) as part of an ongoing row with the Government over pensions, there was just one other minor incident across in the area.