100 firefighters tackle factory blaze

By Liz HearnshawMORE than 100 firefighters have spent hours battling a blaze in tonnes of poultry litter at a power plant.The fire broke out at 10.

By Liz Hearnshaw

MORE than 100 firefighters have spent hours battling a blaze in tonnes of poultry litter at a power plant.

The fire broke out at 10.20am yesterday in the fuel hall at Fibrothetford in Two Mile Bottom, near Thetford.

Staff were moved out of the building and the station, one of the largest in Europe to make environmentally friendly energy, was shut down.

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Twenty fire engines and support vehicles, including crews from Mildenhall, Ixworth, Bury St Edmunds and Brandon, were sent to deal with the blaze.

Pouring water onto it would have turned the waste into unmanageable slurry, which meant Fibrothetford staff had to use diggers to clear a path for firefighters to get to the hot-spot.

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Divisional officer Terry Larkowsky said firefighters had been faced with a long and dusty job, adding a number of specialist units had been drafted in.

“The only reason there is such a high number is because there was a big turnover of teams using breathing apparatus. We sent them in every 10 minutes,” he said.

“The fire was contained at the back of the building. It was a very small fire. Our problem was that we do not want to put lots of water onto it, otherwise we would create environmental problems.

“It turns to slurry and it gets everywhere. It goes from being controllable and manageable to something that just floats.”

EPR Energy operations director Osvaldo Mauro-Hun, of Fibrothetford, said no-one had been injured in the incident, estimating that up to 20 people had been moved out of the hall when the alarms had sounded.

“It is a fire in the fuel we use for the power station. This fuel has a very low reactivity. In this case, something has happened to ignite it, although we do not know what happened,” he added.

“A full investigation will be carried out and we will know in a couple of days what happened.”

Mr Mauro-Hun believed some of the belts and electrical cables had been damaged in the blaze, while the production of electricity had been interrupted.

He added there have been similar fires in the past, but they have been relatively minor.


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