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Thursday 2 October 2014

Traffic restrictions as recycle plant continues to burn

Published 26/01/2014 | 02:30

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Fire crews at the scene of a major fire at the Oxigen recycle plant in Ballymount.  Picture; GERRY MOONEY.  25/1/14
Fire crews at the scene of the major Ballymount fire. Picture: GERRY MOONEY
A Garda wears a mask to protect him from the toxic smoke from the fire at the Oxigen recycling plant at Ballymount.
Photo: Tony Gavin 25/1/2014
A Garda wears a mask to protect him from the toxic smoke from the fire at the Oxigen recycling plant at Ballymount. Photo: Tony Gavin
The scene of a major fire at the Oxigen recycle plant in Ballymount.  Picture; GERRY MOONEY.  25/1/14
The scene of a major fire at the Oxigen recycle plant in Ballymount. Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 25/1/14

GARDAI have warned motorists to expect traffic disruption in the Ballymount area as the fire at a recycling plant continues to burn.

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The inferno  ripped through a recycling plant in the early hours of yesterday morning.

However gardai this evening confirmed they are still unsure as to when the blaze will be contained.

Many roads close to the plant will have restrictions and local access only.

Five units from Dublin Fire Brigade were involved in fighting the intense blaze. 

Yesterday a team of 35 firefighters armed with six water pumps and three back-up trucks were fighting the blaze.

The fire broke out at the Oxigen recycling plant at the Merrywell Industrial Estate in Ballymount, West Dublin, at 3am yesterday.

25/01/14
Dublin Fire Brigades attended a fire at Oxigen recycling plant on the Ballymount Road, Co Dublin this morning
Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Dublin Fire Brigades attended a fire at Oxigen recycling plant on the Ballymount Road, Co Dublin this morning

A spokesperson told independent.ie today that the fire won't be extinguished for at least another day.

"It's such a big undertaking in terms of the amount of recyclables there."

"We're trying to fight the fire in the most time efficient way, but we're also very conscious of the dangers inherent in a fire like this."

Now up to 120 workers at the plant face an anxious wait to see if their jobs have also gone up in smoke.

Oxigen director of HR and communications Martin Harrell said: "Until we see the full extent of the fire we can't say what will happen to our employees. We have people working in IT, Finance, Advertising, Administration and many other sectors.

"Luckily none of our delivery trucks were damaged in the blaze so most of our delivery men can continue working. We even have a few out making deliveries today."

An employee at a Spar near the plant described the fire as "like something from a film", adding: "I could see black smoke from the Naas Road as I drove to work. I've never seen fog like it. My car still stinks of smoke."

It's thought Oxigen recycling plant will have been burning for over 24 hours by the time firefighters can fully extinguish the blaze.

A spokesperson for Dublin Fire Brigade told the Sunday Independent: "The fire is contained but is taking along time to put out because of all the slow burning plastic inside the plant."

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but investigations are under way.

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 yesterday morning, and this number was later reduced to nine.

The rate at which the fire can be extinguished is dependent on favourable weather conditions.

The plume of smoke emerging from the fire caused poor visibility for motorists in nearby areas, Ballymount and Walkinstown. 

The building is 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 yesterday morning, but fire officers have no way of knowing whether more canisters remain.

A spokesperson for Dublin Fire Brigade said yesterday: "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."

He described the massive fire as a 'resource-sapping fire' which could continue for days.

A garda spokesperson said "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.

Irish Independent

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