Recycling centre fire fight a 'lengthy job'

Smoking rubbish being removed from the fire-hit recycling centre
Smouldering rubbish had to be removed "bit by bit" [County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service ]

A blaze that broke out at a household waste recycling centre has been extinguished after a "lengthy job" for firefighters.

The fire broke out at the site on Darlington's Whessoe Road at about 05:10 BST on Wednesday.

Harrowgate Hill Primary School was closed and people were told to keep windows and doors shut due to the level of smoke.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) described it as a "far from a typical fire" with "120 tonnes of smouldering waste" to deal with.

Crews had to use specialist machinery to remove the items "bit by bit" while tackling the fire.

Smoke covering the entrance to the centre
The fire began early on Wednesday morning [BBC]

Phil Innis, CDDFRS Group Manager, said: "It required a non-typical method to safely extinguish."

He said applying water would not work on the waste, so crews needed to move the smouldering rubbish.

"Once removed from the industrial unit, which is very smoke logged, crews then needed to dampen down the waste and ensure it had stopped smouldering," Mr Innis explained.

“It was a lengthy job, but a rotating shift of firefighters worked through the night to get the job done."

Firefighters said they would remain in the area to carry out checks and the advice to keep doors and windows closed has now been lifted.

Darlington Borough Council said it would advise residents when the Household Waste Recycling Centre can reopen.

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