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Blaze could leave Oxigen with €140k bill

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Members of the Dublin Fire Brigade attempt to quell the blaze at the Oxigen recycling plant in Ballymount. Photo: Frank McGrath

Members of the Dublin Fire Brigade attempt to quell the blaze at the Oxigen recycling plant in Ballymount. Photo: Frank McGrath

Members of the Dublin Fire Brigade attempt to quell the blaze at the Oxigen recycling plant in Ballymount. Photo: Frank McGrath

POSTAL services for Dubliners will be disrupted after An Post was forced to close its sorting office in the wake of the Ballymount blaze.

The ongoing fire at the Oxigen Recycling Plant could cost the company over €140,000, but management says the bill won't be borne by its customers.

There could be further charges too if an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency results in fines being imposed for any damage caused by the fire.

The blaze at the industrial estate in Ballymount, south Dublin, continued into its fourth day this morning and while Dublin Fire Brigade says it has been brought under control, it could be at least another day before it is fully extinguished.

Now it has been revealed that the An Post Merrywell parcel depot in Dublin has been evacuated after smoke and fumes from the Oxigen plant took over.

Parcel deliveries will be disrupted as a result and traffic diversions remain in place.

The cause of the inferno has not yet been identified.

The nature of the fire means fresh recyclable material needs to be continually dug up and hosed down which is a resource-sapping process.

 

HAZARDOUS

Figures supplied to the Herald reveal a first hour rate call out charge in the case of a hazardous substance fire is €915, with a fee of €485 per hour for every subsequent tender dispatched to fight the inferno.

If an average of three fire tenders tackling the fire every hour over four days is calculated, the bill for Oxigen will be over €140,000.

The number of units battling the blaze fluctuates depending on weather and time of day, but there were 13 units at the scene when the fire broke out and as many as five on other occasions, which indicate the final bill could escalate.

A spokesperson for the company told the Herald the costs of the fire will not be passed on to Oxigen customers, though it is unclear if they will be covered by insurance.

Meanwhile, both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has attended the scene every day, and gardai say they will launch a full investigation once the fire is out.

In a statement, the EPA warned adults and children with lung and heart problems who live near the fire that they should reduce strenuous physical activity, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience difficulties.

 

ENFORCEMENT

An EPA spokeswoman told the Herald they were "constantly monitoring the air over Dublin" adding that as "the fire is quite localised there will be pockets of poor air quality".

She said they would be "looking at enforcement action".

"They (Oxigen) are a licensee of ours so we will be looking into what happened," she added.

The spokeswoman said enforcement actions open to the EPA where licensees are found to be at fault ranged from notices of non-compliance "up to and including prosecution".

The inferno will delay parcel postal services across the country as An Post had to temporarily close its South Dublin parcel centre yesterday, due to the fumes.

Those living in the area were advised to rewash any clothes which may have been contaminated by smoke and to avoid any unnecessary exposure.

Oxigen had no update on any possible investigations late last night. Efforts by the company to redeploy 75 displaced workers are continuing but no new jobs have been located yet.

Read Terry Prone: Page 14


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