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More than 90 firefighters across Suffolk and Norfolk tackle blaze at recycling centre near Thetford

PUBLISHED: 15:47 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:54 06 September 2017

The fire service at the scene of the fire at the Viridor recycling centre at Wretham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The fire service at the scene of the fire at the Viridor recycling centre at Wretham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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More than 90 firefighters from across county borders tackled a huge blaze which erupted at a Norfolk recycling plant overnight.

The fire service at the scene of the fire at the Viridor recycling centre at Wretham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The fire service at the scene of the fire at the Viridor recycling centre at Wretham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Crews rushed to Viridor Recycling Centre on the A1075 Thetford Road in Wretham, near Thetford at 2.42am and were greeted with fierce flames and temperatures of 600C.

At the fire’s height, 14 appliances were on the scene, including three from Suffolk and firefighters were still on the scene at 2.30pm.

As well as fire engines, an aerial ladder platform, water carrier and control unit were used.

Greg Preston, incident commander from Norfolk Fire and rescue said firefighters used power tools to cut through the building’s cladding and walls to gain access.

Smoke from the fire inside the building at the Viridor recycling centre at Wretham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Smoke from the fire inside the building at the Viridor recycling centre at Wretham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He said firefighters faced temperatures “in the hundreds of degrees” inside the building.

He said: “It was very smoke-logged with high temperatures inside.

“Our crews arrived on the scene just after 2.40am to find a significant fire inside the waste processing area.”

Mr Preston said there was a large pile of waste on fire which had spread to the building itself.

The fire service at the scene of the fire at the Viridor recycling centre at Wretham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The fire service at the scene of the fire at the Viridor recycling centre at Wretham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He said: “We’ve been battling to contain the fire inside the building.

“It’s going to be drawn out for some time because we need safe access into the building and to work in a controlled way.”

Mr Preston said there was some structural damage to the building itself.

He said firefighters were also working to ensure that they did not damage the nearby water course in extinguishing the blaze.

The scene of a fire at recycling centre in Wretham. Picture: RYAN HANCOCK The scene of a fire at recycling centre in Wretham. Picture: RYAN HANCOCK

Mr Preston added: “We are working with our colleagues in the Environment Agency to make sure that the water we are putting on to the fire is being managed. A tanker is coming on site to remove that water so we don’t put it into the water course.”

He said there was no yet indication as to how the fire started. He said: “There will be a full investigation into the incident over the next few hours.”

An ambulance crew was also on site, to ensure the welfare of the fire fighters.

And a spokesman from Pennon Group, which owns Viridor, said there were no injuries. He said: “At approximately 4am on Wednesday morning, security personnel at Viridor’s Larkshall Depot in East Wretham, Thetford, reported a developing fire. Local fire and rescue services are in attendance.

The scene of a fire at recycling centre in Wretham. Picture: RYAN HANCOCK The scene of a fire at recycling centre in Wretham. Picture: RYAN HANCOCK

“The fire is currently contained, but still burning, and 12 tenders remain on site. There have been no injuries.

“The Environment Agency has been notified and is at the site.”

Thetford Road was previously closed, but Norfolk Police tweeted at 5.19am to say it was clear, but to approach with caution.

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