Families Could Be Out-of-Pocket After Littleport Fire Clean-up

PUBLISHED: 15:35 25 November 2009 | UPDATED: 11:08 04 May 2010

littleport fire

littleport fire

FAMILIES whose homes have been badly damaged by the fire at Murfitt s Industries in Littleport could be left thousands of pounds out of pocket if insurance companies refuse to pay out for the cost of cleaning and repairing their properties. The fire, whi

FAMILIES whose homes have been badly damaged by the fire at Murfitt's Industries in Littleport could be left thousands of pounds out of pocket if insurance companies refuse to pay out for the cost of cleaning and repairing their properties.

The fire, which started back in August at the yard on Wisbech Road, took almost seven weeks to extinguish and caused huge plumes of smoke and ash to billow over nearby houses and businesses.

Now, with a major clean-up operation under way at the site itself, families are being advised to call in professional cleaning companies to help deal the extensive damage but many are worried that they will be left out of pocket if they can't recover the costs of cleaning their homes through insurance claims.

Yvonne Bartram, who owns stables near to the site, said: "I have had to pay out thousands of pounds from my own pocket for repairs to buildings and stables and I have had to pay costs to move my horses away from the smoke for three months. I don't expect to get a penny back.

"My stables have really taken a hit and it has all been incredibly stressful for everyone involved, including the horses. I am trying to get money back for repairs to my house but even that is not guaranteed."

In the last week, a large scale cleanup operation has got underway at Murfitt's where 2000 tonnes of shredded tyres went up in flames in late August.

Letters have been distributed to residents in the nearby village detailing the procedure for cleaning the debris, and air quality tests continue to be carried out by the Health Protection Agency.

One family who live near to the site told the Ely Standard: "We have been in rented accommodation since the fire began and it has been a huge inconvenience to us through no fault of our own.

"Now the cleanup on the site itself has begun we have been advised that we should get in contact with companies who will come out and repair the damage to the house which we think could run into thousands of pounds.

"Our insurance company are paying at the moment but we don't know if they will be able to recover the costs from Murfitt's. It has been a very stressful time for our family and we may not be back in our home until next year."

ECDC has provided support and advice for local residents affected by the fire and has also advised all residents looking to start compensation claims to seek advice from the Citizen's Advice Bureaux or from a solicitor.

Marcus Bell, scientific officer at East Cambridgeshire District Council,

said: "Concerns regarding air quality were of paramount importance throughout the fire. The council are continuing to run the Particulates and Sulphur Dioxide static monitors until at least early December. These monitors will continue to be checked and forwarded to the Health Protection Agency for any health risks. As with during the actual fire, the council, Environment Agency and other agencies will be liaising with each other and the public over the next few weeks regarding the clean up operation.

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