Chichester tip fire: Residents thanked as blaze finally ends

Chichester residents have been thanked for their patience after a large fire at a tip has ended, one week after it first caught alight.

Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 6:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 6:12 pm
A digger takes fiery waste from the building.

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Here's the latest on the Chichester tip fire

The fire was extinguished at lunchtime today (Tuesday April 9) after fire crews using specialist equipment spent the last week trying to control the fire and minimise the impact of smoke produced.

Crews were unable to extinguish the flames initially due to concerns about safety in accessing the building and the potential effect on aquatic ecosystems of contaminated water running off to Westhampnett Lake and, from there, into nearby water courses.

A digger takes fiery waste from the building.

"Some materials retain heat and cause the affected area to continue to burn even after water is applied. We were presented with a number of challenges, including the large amount of smoke within the building and the potential impact on the local environment.

“After consulting with a national fire service advisor on waste fires, we worked to ventilate the building to help reduce the amount of smoke in the building, and improve conditions to enable crews to gain entry.

A digger in the building

“I would like to thank everyone involved in this complex operation, and thank you to local residents who have been so patient throughout this process.”

Local residents and businesses were advised to keep doors and windows closed as large amounts of smoke dispersing over the city and the surrounding areas.

"I’d also like to thank colleagues from Viridor, Chichester District Council, The Environment Agency and Public Health England, all of whom gave advice and were closely consulted throughout.

The building as it stands now

“The site remains closed while we look at ways to restore a minimum service at as soon as possible. We hope to have some services back up and running in the near future and would ask people to avoid going to alternative sites if they possibly can.”

Viridor and the County Council thank the Viridor site team and West Sussex and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services for their assistance and ask the public to dispose of batteries responsibly at a household waste recycling site and, as summer approaches, to ensure barbecue ashes have been to left to cool for at least 48 hours or thoroughly wet these ashes before placing out for collection.

If anyone is concerned about their exposure to the smoke, particularly those with existing breathing problems, lung and heart conditions, they are advised to call NHS 111 or their local GP.