Firemen tackle 400 tonne blaze - but stop for two hours due to strike
Published 15/07/2014 | 09:28
Firefighters are tackling the major fire in east London but stopped between 6am and 8am due to strike action when four contingency crews took over
Firefighters tackling a blaze on a London industrial estate stopped mid-way due to strike action, leaving contingency crews to take over.
The fire broke out after midnight after 400 tonnes of recycled waste caught alight and more than 70 firefighters were called to the incident in Canning Town, east London.
The Fire Brigade Union is conducting 15 strikes between July 14 and 21.
Today's strike began at 6am and four contingency crews took over.
The contingency crews stayed at the recycling warehouse until the end of the strike period at 8am when London Fire Brigade (LFB) crews returned.
Firefighters in England and Wales are going on strike across eight consecutive days over changes to pensions and retirement benefits.
The Fire Brigades Union described government changes to their retirement benefits as a “vicious attack” on pensions.
The LFB said the incident was still ongoing and residents affected were told to keep doors and windows closed as the smoke from the fire was drifting.
The cause of the fire is not known, a spokesman for the LFB said.
Station Manager Paul McClenaghan who was at the scene said: “Crews are working hard to bring the blaze under control and to stop it from spreading to neighbouring buildings on the industrial estate.”
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said it was supporting the firefighters and helping to minimise the environmental impact of the fire.
The spokesman said: “London Fire Brigade estimate that around 400 tonnes of non-hazardous waste is on fire at the site and we are advising them on pollution prevention measures to minimise the risk of harm to the local environment.
“Members of the public are encouraged to report incidents of pollution to our 24 hour emergency hotline on 0800 807060.”
There will be an investigation into the incident to look at any future risks, the spokesman confirmed.
The LFB said at the height of the incident, 10 fire engines and the LFB’s fire boat were in attendance.