Huge plumes of smoke visible after Sunderland scrap yard fire

Written by on 15th May 2018

Plumes of smoke were visible across the Sunderland skyline – and as far as Teesside and North Tyneside – last night after a big fire in the Deptford area of the city. 

The fire is believed to have started around 6pm at the former Smiles Scrap Yard and Recycling Centre on Deptford Terrace on the south side of the River Wear bank.

Local workers told Spark that the building had been disused for around 2 years. 

Plumes of smoke were visible right across the City, dominating the evening skyline with photos of the black smoke seen as far as Redcar to the South and Whitley Bay to the North. 

Firefighters were still tackling the blaze overnight and this morning a number of appliances remain on the scene.

Firefighters have insisted there is no wider danger to the public as they continue to work on controlling the incident. 

“There is no risk to public however public advice is to stay clear of area/keep windows closed. Crews remain on scene.” – Latest from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue

Locals flocked to the area last night to see where the blaze was coming from despite repeated concerns from emergency services to avoid the area. 

Firefighters are using water from the River Wear to try and put out the fire, Spark understands.

Smoke continues across the city this morning and Deptford Terrace remains closed. 

Joint Statement from the Environment Agency and Sunderland City Council

The Environment Agency, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Sunderland City Council, Northumbria Police and Public Health England have been responding to the fire since it broke out on Monday evening.

Officers from all the agencies involved are meeting daily to assess and respond to the latest developments and agree a course of action. Environment Agency officers have attended site to assess any potential environmental impact of the fire, and to give guidance on fire water run-off and air quality.

In the long term both organisations are keen to press ahead with their aim of bringing the site back into use.

The privately owned waste site was abandoned when the business went into administration in 2015, leaving behind thousands of tonnes of waste were abandoned, requiring millions of pounds to safely remove.

This has created a massive financial burden on the public purse which the council and Environment Agency were working together to address by bringing the site back into use with minimal taxpayers’ money. Unfortunately the fire happened before this plan could be put into action.

Although responsibility for the site sits with the former owners’ pension fund which now owns it, both the council and the Environment Agency are committed to continuing to work together to find a creative solution to the problem left behind by the site owners when the business failed.

Article updated with the council’s statement at 17:30 on 16/05/18.

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