UPDATED: TWENTY fire crews are fighting a large scale fire at an industrial unit at Sankey Valley Industrial Estate at Newton-le-Willows, which has been declared a major incident and created a large volume of smoke which can be seen across the skies of Warrington.
The fire spread to an adjoining caravan park which had to be evacuated while local residents were advised to stay indoors with their doors and windows closed as toxic fumes billowed high into the sky.
Crews were alerted at 11.08am and on scene at 11.15am. On arrival they found a large fire approximately 30m x 15m. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are currently tackling the fire using a main branch.
A large volume of smoke is being produced by the fire. Nearby businesses and residents should keep windows and doors closed. Anyone with existing medical conditions should keep medicine nearby and call NHS 111 if ill effects occur.
The fire was sectorised. Firefighters are using two main branches, a compressed air foam branch and a high pressure hose reel jet.
Fire crews worked alongside Merseyside Police to evacuate a nearby caravan site.
AT 1pm it was declared a major incident with 20 fire engines in attendance, as well as the combined platform ladder, high volume pump and incident command unit.
Firefighters are working in really challenging heat conditions.
Road closures are in place around the area. Please avoid the area and keep windows and doors closed.
The fire involves a large quantity of plastic crates and a brick building approximately 50m x 30m.
Latest information shows that the smoke plume is blowing straight up and dissipating, however people living and working nearby are advised to keep windows and doors closed.
ACFO Dave Mottram, Incident Commander on scene, said: “We were called to Sankey Valley Industrial Estate at around 11am on Wednesday 20th May. On arrival, it soon became clear that this would be a challenging incident. Due to the enormity of resources required – 20 fire engines, two aerial appliances and two high volume pumps – this was declared a major incident at around lunchtime. I would like to thank our neighbouring fire & rescue services for their assistance during this incident.
“Firefighters have worked tirelessly to tackle this fire in what can only be described as extremely challenging heat conditions and I would like to thank them for their efforts. I would also like to thank our Fire Control operators who were inundated with more than 80 calls from concerned members of the public. At the height of the fire, the smoke could be seen across the north west. The latest information shows us that the smoke is now going straight up and dissipating, however as the fire reduces it may drop lower, probably during the night. We would still advise those living and working nearby to keep their windows and doors closed for the time being.
“As well as affecting a large quantity of plastic containers and a brick building on site, the fire also spread to a nearby caravan park, leading to the evacuation of those living there. We worked closely with our colleagues in Merseyside Police to ensure everyone was taken to safety and we are happy to report that no one was injured. We will continue to work with partner agencies to ensure those evacuated have somewhere to stay until they are able to return home. There will be transport disruption in the area, including to the rail network so the public should be aware that there is likely to be some disruption for some time. Motorists should avoid the area if possible.
“Firefighting continues and we will continue to have a presence for the remainder of the day and into the night. An investigation is being carried out into the cause of the fire but at this point we cannot advise of the cause. Local residents may have experienced problems with their water pressure but we are working closely with partners to ensure they retain water supply, thanks to them for their patience as we deal with this fire. We will continue to work closely with multi-agency partners throughout the remainder of this incident to end it quickly and minimise disruption.”
Firefighting continues at the scene.
There have been no reports of any casualties.
The following road closures are in place:
– Sankey St at its junction with Legh St
– Earle St at its junction with Viaduct St
– Earle Street at its junction with Bridge St
– Wellington St at its junction with Legh St
– Sankey St closed at the bridge.
Video: warrington-worldwide reader Richard Sutton
⚠️SANKEY VALLEY INDUSTRIAL ESTATE FIRE⚠️
This video shows the size of the area involved. Firefighters are continuing to work tirelessly in extremely challenging conditions. We are still advising those nearby to keep windows & doors closed. ➡️https://t.co/J4QRIQ04W2 pic.twitter.com/JA4FOdKtgS
— Mersey Fire (@MerseyFire) May 20, 2020