A sprinkler system at a household waste recycling plant has saved the building from being destroyed by fire when a blaze broke out at the Veolia recycling centre at Mile Oak Industrial Estate, Oswestry, Shropshire.  

The facility processes a much wider range of materials than can be collected at the kerbside and the fire involved a large quantity of household rubbish inside the building. Within minutes of the fire starting, the sprinkler system was triggered and the fire suppressed. The premises were severely smoke logged and fire crews from Oswestry, Ellesmere and Shrewsbury damped down the fire with the help of Veolia staff.

The building was then ventilated and reoccupied only three hours later.

John Griffiths, Station Manager for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, praised the company for installing a sprinkler system. Station Manager Griffiths said: "Fortunately Veolia have a sprinkler system and it stopped the fire. It was a God send. Without it we would have been here a long time."

Phil Lucas, Performance Manager at Veolia, said the system was fitted when the centre opened in 2009. "To replace that building would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds."

BAFSA Secretary General Stewart Kidd commented: "This 'good news' story never made the national media - unlike the major fire at a similar location in Dagenham, Essex. This fire, the largest in London for many years, resulted in the total destruction of a very large building (100m x 30m) at the Hunts Waste Recycling Centre and required 200 firefighters and 40 fire engines to bring it under control. There were initially fears that smoke from this fire might affect the final day at the Olympic Stadium at Stratford.

The difference between the two fires was the fact that Veolia had had the foresight to install a sprinkler system in their Shropshire plant. There have been more than 22 fires in recycling centres in the UK in 2012 so no one should be surprised when these happen. The presence of sprinklers meant that the Shropshire plant was back in business in less than half a day while the Essex plant will be out of action for weeks."

For more information visit: www.bafsa.org.uk 

Posted August 16th, 2012 at 1320 by Andrew. Comment by emailing andrew.lynch@pavpub.com