Fire at Oswestry Waste Paper

23rd February, 2006

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to a severe fire in a waste paper recycling unit at Masebury Trading Estate Oswestry at 3.30 this morning whilst others crews were tackling a spate of car fires on the same estate.

The fire at Oswestry Waste Paper involved large quantities of baled compressed waste paper awaiting processing and the Fire Crews faced intense heat and danger of the stacked bales collapsing on them as they fought the fire.

Shropshire's Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor attended the incident to which four fire appliances, an Ariel Ladder, an Incident Command unit together with Specialist Officers were mobilised and crews worked throughout the night to bring the blaze under control.

The Officer in Charge of the incident, Divisional Officer Mike Ablitt said that "there was a very serious risk of the fire might spread to adjoining units and had it not been for the rapid deployment of our crews the damage could have far more severe. Thankfully we have been able to prevent an escalation of the incident and for the remaining Commercial Units on the estate today will be business as normal".

Fires in paper processing units are notoriously hazardous and specialist Safety Officers attended to minimise the risks to the fire crews and the companies' onsite-staff. Thankfully despite the severity of the incident no one was injured and the Fire Service is now working with the management of the unit to help them resume normal operations as quickly as possible. Shropshire's 'Fire Investigation Officers' will be onsite for most of today determining the cause of the incident.

The simultaneous car fires placed the Fire Service under some pressure but Mike Ablitt explained that the Brigade has robust contingencies in place to ensure the continuity of its emergency service under such circumstances.

It is believed that the car fires were deliberately started and the Fire Service is warning business in the area to be particularly vigilant to the risk of arson. Advice on protecting business form arsonists can be obtained from the Fire Safety Department on 01743 260 260.