ENVAR – update

8th January 2019

I had a long conversation with Martin – Hazards materials adviser for Cambs Fire last night.  He was very helpful and to summarise the conversation see below:
  • Approx 2-3000 tons of compost material on the site made up of garden and food waste.  This is heated to sterilise and stock pilled to be graded and shipped.  The slab the stock is on can contain natural rain water without running off but it couldn’t withstand large amounts of water from a fire hose.
  • Approx 1000 tons of compost material is on fire, which if the fire brigade were to put this out using water would take approx 1 week as it would have to be split into 1 ton sections and spread out to allow the water to put out the fire.  Then left to ensure the fire is completely out.  If the material is moved when on fire it could cause further damage and is a risk to the fire officers.
  • Approx 1/3 of the stock is burnt down with 1/4-1/2 going through the burn process.  The burn process is currently classed as a “clean burn” which means it is burning nicely on its own.  While flames may seem harmful this is a sign that there is carbon dioxide which is good, at night this does change which is why the recommendation to keep doors and windows closed.  If eyes are streaming this is a sign of chlorine in the atmosphere.  There have been no reports of this.
  • Public Heath England are part of the large scale group who are involved in this fire and they have confirmed they haven’t received reports of patients suffering as a result of the fire. They have advised that they are confident that life and health is not at risk.  Should they see an increase of patients this will be reported back.
  • Senior members of the fire service are attending the site AM & PM to assess the fire and to take necessary action.  If full time attendance is needed this is when the decision will be made.
  • They have confirmed the house is beyond salvage and the staff on site are working hard to keep a barrier between the fire and to stack remaining stock to increase burn efficiency.
  • Staff on site have been working for 11 hour days without breathing apparatus and have had no ill effects.
  • Waste water created as a result of putting the fire out with hoses will have to be disposed of by the EA.