independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Firefighters continue to battle massive Dublin blaze

Public warned of toxic fumes as recycling plant fire could take 'days' to extinguish

Fire crews at the scene of the major Ballymount fire. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Nine units of Dublin Fire Brigade are still battling a major fire which broke out at a recycling plant in Dublin this morning and will work at the scene throughout the night.

The fire started at around 3am at the Oxigen recycling plant at the Merrywell Industrial Estate in Ballymount in Dublin.

Gardai are advising residents in the path of the smoke to keep their windows and doors closed because of the toxicity of the fumes.

Thirteen units from Dublin Fire Brigade were at the scene for four hours this morning, and this number has now been reduced to nine.

A spokesperson for the Dublin Fire Brigade told independent.ie this evening that the fire will be "ongoing for the foreseeable future" and it is still "unclear" as to how long it will take to fully extinguish the blaze.

Fire officers attempting to bring the blaze under control say it will take days to extinguish the fire completely. The rate at which the fire can be extinguished is dependent on favourable weather conditions.

A plume of smoke is causing poor visibility for motorists in nearby areas, Ballymount and Walkinstown. 

There are no reports of any injuries but members of the public are being warned of the toxic fumes.

The building is now said to have completely collapsed.

Dangerous chemicals and gases including argon and canisters of the highly explosive oxyacetylene are stored at the site. Some canisters exploded in the fire earlier this morning, but fire officers have no way of knowing whether more canisters remain.

A spokesperson for Dublin Fire Brigade said: "It's going to be a long drawn out fire. There's a lot of bailed, recycled material there and it's always going to be tricky to put out that."

"The plant contains recycled plastic which is giving off that thick black smoke, so we're advising people nearby to keep their windows and doors closed."

"We're advising anyone with respiratory problems to get out and go to a friend's house. But we're not putting an evacuation in place."

He described the massive fire as a 'resource-sapping fire' which will continue into the rest of today and tomorrow.

Another spokesperson said there is a "poor water supply" due to the size of the water mains in the area, but fire fighters are working to tackle the fire.

He warned: "The smoke is low lying and people are ringing to say that they are smelling smoke."

Meanwhile, a garda spokesperson said Clondalkin gardai are at the scene.

"When it is safe to do so, the scene will be examined. At the moment, there is nothing to suggest criminality but obviously that won't be determined until we examine the scene."

Huge clouds of smoke can be seen billowing from the fire over Dublin - as far away as Blessington.

Meanwhile, three units of Dublin Fire Brigade were called to a scene at the Ballymount Cross Industrial Estate in Dublin at around 3.40am.

Four vehicles were on fire outside Furlong Floorings, a garda spokesperson said.

Motorists have been advised to take care in the area of Ballymount. AA Roadwatch said the fire is not currently affecting the M50.

Geraldine Gittens & Denise Calnan

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