Fly-tippers dump toxic gas cylinders and asbestos on remote track

Fire incident
Fire incident

Fire crews have responded with fury after fly-tippers dumped a huge quantity of toxic substances on a remote track in Wigan.

Emergency services were called to a massive pile of gas cylinders, including ones filled with acetylene, and sheets of asbestos ablaze on Maple Avenue in Hindley.

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Fortunately the incident was well away from any houses or a wide exclusion zone would have needed setting up and properties evacuating.

However, it took firefighters three and a half hours to make sure the flames were fully out, slowly adding water from a safe distance and then checking to see what progress had been made.

There were also propane and butane cylinders along with containers full of other gases.

The potentially-lethal substances were hidden under a large pile of rubbish which had been set on fire.

Crews have now blasted those responsible.

Watch manager Mark Anderson from Hindley fire station said: "In cases where there is acetylene we have to set up a 200-metre exclusion zone. Fortunately on this occasion the only occupant of that was a horse because it was about half a mile down the track after the last houses.

"Fly-tipping is very dangerous and costly to the residents to Wigan who have to foot the bill for it to get cleaned up.

"This stuff which has been dumped is incredibly toxic and it can get into the watercourses, not to mention the impact if it was to explode.

"We would encourage members of the public to use licensed waste providers and to report any instances of fly-tipping as quickly as they can so it can be removed before it is set on fire.

"We couldn't actually see what was on fire at first but saw the smoke billowing up. We don't deploy in a smoke plume so we investigated from a safe distance.

"When we approached over the top of a small hill there were cylinders visible."

Wigan Council has now been informed of the incident.