A major fire operation at a Blidworth wood processing plant may cause pollution at nearby ponds and streams after 'considerable' amounts of water were used to tackle the blaze.
Nottinghamshire firefighters were engaged in a major operation last night to tackle a blaze at a Blidworth wood processing plant.
And in the day following the fire, Midlands Environment Officer Paul Reeves has been on the scene investigating potential pollution dangers after nine fire engines pumped water to extinguish the blaze.
He tweeted earlier today: "We are continuing our environmental investigations following the fire at Blidworth.
"Considerable amounts of fire water have been used by @nottsfire. We are checking nearby ponds and streams for potential water pollution."
An environment agency spokesman said: "The Fire Service did a great job, but had to use a huge amount of water to put the fire out. Obviously when the water from the fire hoses mixes with the materials that in this case included wood preservative it becomes polluted and can threaten the local environment.”
“Due to the large amount of water used there were concerns that it wasn’t all contained on site and may have entered nearby ponds or waterways. So far our officers have not spotted any visual problems but have taken water samples which are currently being analysed.”
A team of 20 firefighters fought the blaze from around 9.00pm last night (September 1) at Rainworth Fencing in Cross Lane, Blidworth.
At its peak the operation saw nine fire engines in attendance, and fire crews and police are still in attendance.
Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue's Station Manager in command of the fire on Cross Lane, Jon Scott, said: “The initial call for this incident came in late last night."
“We’ve committed around 20 breathing apparatus wearers to deal with the fire since the call came in and at its height we had nine fire engines in attendance plus our high volume pump and water bowser.
“The majority of the fire, which has been at a wood processing plant that contained wood, sawdust and machinery, is now out and we’re currently damping down and making the area safe.
“There is no risk to any members of the public in the surrounding areas as this is quite a remote site.”
At this time the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
At 11pm the incident had progressed to a nine-pump operation with pumps across the county attending.
"There are farm fertilizers involved in this incident," said a fire spokesperson last night.
The two buildings involved - which contained farm fertilizers and cylinders according, according to the fire service, covering an area measuring 90x60 metres and the crews used breathing apparatus and hoses to first contain.
A Nottingham Police spokesman said they were on the scene to aid with traffic management and to allow access to fire investigators, but did not say there were any criminal investigations underway or whether any suspects were under arrest.
After wide speculation about the fire on social media, an employee of Rainworth Fencing said: "It's all died down now and this has been a huge fuss over nothing.
"It was a small fire involving some faulty wire and sawdust."
Director at parent company High Park Industries, Paul Cheeseman, said: "This was a small fire.
"The reason there were so many fire engines was because there is no access to mains water on the site."
The company has contested a previous assertion by the Environment Agency that pollution concerns were due to preservatives in their pellets, which are actually untreated.
An environment Agency spokesman has since confirmed there were preservative treatments on the site but these were not believed to be used in the pellets.
High Park Industries', which has a £4, contract with Nottinghamshire County Council to supply pellets, said on its website that their pure pine pellet fuels are 'made from 100 per cent pure pine sawdust – which is a by-product of our sawmill. All of our timber comes from UK sustainable forests. Nothing is added to our pellets, the natural ‘lignin’ found in timber causes the sawdust to bind together under pressure to produce a durable, quality pellet."