Fire At Littleport Should Be Out By End Of Week Says Fire Service

FIRE-fighters hope to finally extinguish the tyre fire in Littleport this week – nearly two months after it first broke out. The blaze, at Murfitts Industries on the A10, started seven weeks ago, on August 21. Crews from across Cambridgeshire were called

FIRE-fighters hope to finally extinguish the tyre fire in Littleport this week - nearly two months after it first broke out.

The blaze, at Murfitts Industries on the A10, started seven weeks ago, on August 21. Crews from across Cambridgeshire were called to help battle the inferno, which raged at temperatures of up to 700 degrees.

At one point, 200 tons of shredded rubber tyres was ablaze. Now, just the largest pile remains after fire crews' painstaking, systematic work to douse the flames. Heavy machinery has been used to remove sections of each pile, submerging them in water and leaving them to cool before removing them from the site.

Neil Newberry, assistant chief fire officer said: "We are hopeful that we will have the fire extinguished by the end of the week. As this last pile is the largest, it is also the most difficult and temperatures within its core are very hot. This has caused issues with machinery overheating, which means that we need to stop periodically while the machinery cools down.

"As a result, progress has been slower than it has been in the past few weeks. However, we have extended the hours that we are working in a final push to get it extinguished by the end of the week."

Local mum Rachel Newport, 37, of Fishers Bank, told the Ely Standard that she was worried about the affects of breathing in the smoke caused by the fire.

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Her five-year-old son Jimi, who suffers from asthma, goes to Littleport Primary School.

She said: "My little boy goes to school in Parsons Lane and if the wind has changed direction they won't let the children play outside. I'm not blaming anyone, I know that the fire-fighters are doing all they can, but I feel very strongly that this could affect people's health. I spoke to a doctor who works for the local authority and she said she didn't know if it is going to cause long-term health damage."

Lesley Plant, head teacher at the school, confirmed that children had been kept inside, but on "less than a handful" of occasions.

She said; "The fire service has been excellent at keeping us informed and working closely with us to make sure the children's health is a priority."

The Health Protection Agency has released health advice to concerned residents.

Dr Kate King said: "The general advice is that people should do all they can to stay out of the smoke. If the smoke is blowing in your direction you need to take shelter. Staying indoors with the doors and windows closed will provide a good level of protection. People should remember that smoke is an irritant, so it can make your eyes and throat sore."

The HPA said it is unlikely people will suffer significant risks to their health from this incident, as the smoke will be diluted by the wind and the effects from smoke weaken the further you are from the fire.

However, the agency explained that smoke from all fires contain particles, which, if in a high enough concentration may be harmful to the health of vulnerable people.

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