Firefighters praised for ‘tremendous’ work battling blaze near Great Blakenham railway line

Fire at Sackers in Great Blakenham - photo courtesy of Steve Plume

Fire at Sackers in Great Blakenham - photo courtesy of Steve Plume - Credit: Archant

Firefighters have been praised for their “tremendous” work containing a major blaze at a scrap yard in Suffolk that threatened to spread to a nearby railway line.

Fire at Sackers in Great Blakenham - photo courtesy of Steve Plume

Fire at Sackers in Great Blakenham - photo courtesy of Steve Plume - Credit: Archant

Rail services through Ipswich were stopped for more than an hour this evening after the a pile of 10 scrap cars caught light at Sackers in Gipping Road, Great Blakenham, shortly before 6pm.

Seven fire engines were called to the blaze, arriving to find plumes of black smoke billowing from the scrap pile as four metre flames came dangerously close to the overhead power lines on the main London to Norwich line.

Ipswich station commander John Southgate said his crews worked “tirelessly” to tackle the fire and allow the railway line to reopen.

“Our priority was to protect the railway line and the overhead power cables,” he added.

Fire at Sackers, Great Blakenham - Andrew Hirst

Fire at Sackers, Great Blakenham - Andrew Hirst - Credit: Archant


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“The main hazard, other than the fire itself, was the live wires, of 25,000 volts.

Mr Southgate said it was a “very intense fire” and praised the crews’ work along with staff from Sackers who used equipment to pull the pile of cars apart, and Network Rail, who helped assess the situation.

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“Everyone has pulled together,” he added.

Adrian Dodds, managing director at Sackers, said the firefighters and his staff had been “tremendous” in tackling the fire.

Fire at Sackers, Great Blakenham - photo courtesy of Steve Plume

Fire at Sackers, Great Blakenham - photo courtesy of Steve Plume - Credit: Archant

He said the fire had not damaged any of the business’s equipment, other than the scrap cars, and an investigation would be carried out into its cause.

Stacey Brown, 20, a University Campus Suffolk student who lives nearby, said she was alerted by the sound of fire engines and the smell of smoke.

“We came out and saw one of the firemen who said there was a fire involving 10 cars,” she added.

“It was quite smokey and the smoke was black.”

Fire at Stackers in Great Blakenham. Picture: Stacey Brown

Fire at Stackers in Great Blakenham. Picture: Stacey Brown - Credit: Archant

Tracy and Robert Birch, a married couple who live nearby, said they were alerted to the fire by their daughter, who lives in Stowmarket and then looked outside and saw the smoke.

“It went quite dark with the smoke and there was a small of plastic burning,” Mrs Birch said.

Trains between London Liverpool Street and Norwich terminated at Ipswich, while trains travelling from Norwich to the capital terminated at Stowmarket.

Abellio Greater Anglia said it had tried to arrange a rail replacement bus service between Ipswich and Stowmarket.

The fire was reported to have been out at 7pm and the lines reopened under caution soon after.

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