Huge blaze at recycling plant

Firefighers at the scene of a fire at Blakeley's Waste Management, off Bickershaw Lane, Bickershaw
Firefighers at the scene of a fire at Blakeley's Waste Management, off Bickershaw Lane, Bickershaw
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FIRE crews from across the borough battled a large fire as it tore through a Wigan waste recycling plant.

Five appliances and 25 firefighers were initially called to Blakeley’s Waste Management in Bickershaw Lane, Hindley, at 4.30am yesterday, after a large building which contained around 76 tonnes of waste went up in flames.

Residents in the immediate area were advised to close their windows and doors as a precaution due to the amount of smoke. Police were also called to help with traffic management.

The advice to residents was lifted at around 8.15am when three fire engines were left to dampen down.

The cause of the blaze will be the subject of an investigation.

Nobody was injured during the blaze but a firefighter suffered a minor ankle injury.

Station manager Kev O’Connor said: “We were dealing with a deep-seated reclamation fire in one of the buildings.

“Crews did an excellent job in managing the water by laying the hose reel tightly to the curb – minimising disruption to traffic and local residents. They also managed to protect the main office which was just 30ft away from the fire so we were able to put the fire out without causing too much disruption to business continuity.

“Crews remained on the scene throughout the morning where a digger was used to turn over and drag out the rubbish and continue getting water onto it to ensure the fire is fully extinguished.”

Graeme Knight, Blakeley’s general manager, said: “The fire service was on the scene within minutes and the fire in the construction and demolition building was brought under control rapidly.

“The fire was managed, controlled and contained within the building and the materials involved were non-hazardous. “We are very pleased with the actions of the fire service.”

The firm currently collects solid non-hazardous commercial waste from more than 4,000 customers across the North West daily.

At the end of last year, Martin Ainscough Holdings Limited (MAH) purchased a large shareholding in the company for an undisclosed sum.

As a result, a multi-million-pound state-of-the-art materials recycling facility is to be installed at the site, creating 20 new jobs.