Date: 22nd November, 2021
Firefighters have now left the scene of a large fire at a waste transfer site on the outskirts of Devizes, which started on 17 November.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service was initially called to the Grist Environmental Material Recovery Facility on Monument Hill, Stert at 11.10pm last Wednesday, and found a large quantity of commercial waste well alight.
Over nearly three days, crews attended from Devizes, Calne, Swindon, Trowbridge, Westlea, Chippenham, Bradford on Avon, Gillingham, Corsham, Westbury, Stratton, Melksham and Pewsey. Water carriers from Pewsey, Ramsbury, Royal Wootton Bassett and Wilton were used, as were operational support units from Swindon and Salisbury.
By Thursday afternoon, a high-volume pump from Christchurch was on site, to maintain a steady supply of water to the incident ground. Firefighters worked with on-site staff to move waste affected by the fire so it could be drenched with water and made safe.
The fire was finally extinguished by Saturday afternoon, and the high-volume pump was removed from the site later that day. Once this had been done, the temporary traffic lights that had been in place to protect the hose lines crossing the A342 were also removed.
Group Manager Dave Adamson said: “Our thanks go to local people for their patience while we tackled this fire, as we know the smoke was an issue for many in the immediate vicinity. Our multi-agency working with our partners – including the Environment Agency, central Government, Wiltshire Council, colleagues from Public Health and Wiltshire Police – helped to bring this incident to a safe and swift conclusion, reducing the impact to the community.”
He added: “Fires of this type are not unusual, so we now have a Waste Fire Tactical Advisor within the Service, who has received training through the National Fire Chiefs Council and Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service. We are also exploring a memorandum of understanding with Grist Environmental, who have offered support to future incidents within our Service area, following the successful use of their heavy plant and operators during this fire.”
Because of the size of the waste heap affected, the cause of the fire remains unknown.