A huge blaze at a self-storage unit near the M25 has been brought under control on Friday morning after 14 hours, but the fire brigade says it is likely to burn “for the next couple of days”.
The fire has torn through the building, which is also connected to a car garage and builders merchants, and thick black smoke was till spewing from the premises around 11am on Friday.
🚧 Road Closed 🚧
Oyster Lane at #Byfleet is closed between Abbot Close at Booker and Chertsey Road Brooklands whilst @SurreyFRS continue to work on the scene of the fire. Signs are in place at the White Hart roundabout. Please plan your journeys. pic.twitter.com/C5OzoXc00T
— Runnymede Beat (Surrey Police) (@RunnymedeBeat) May 19, 2023
The extent of the damage is not yet clear but Pride in Surrey, which organises LGBTQ+ events in the county and has long stored equipment at the facility, said: “We are bracing ourselves for total loss.”
Glyn Parry Jones, incident commander at Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, said the brigade was called by “an automatic fire alarm”.
“The fire started in a self-storage unit, but there’s also a car workshop and a builders merchant attached to the building,” he said.
Firefighters entered the storage facility in Oyster Lane around 8.50pm and established nobody was inside.
But the unit soon became damaged by fire, hampering efforts to tackle the flames as the building is deemed unsafe to enter.
— Mike Sanders (@mikemgs) May 19, 2023
Photos from the scene on Friday morning showed the building’s roof and corrugated metal sides caved in.
A Surrey Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “Our crews were able to access the building initially and ascertained that there were no persons inside. However, due to the reduced structural integrity as the fire has progressed, our firefighting activities are now limited to the building’s exterior.”
Shortly before 11.30am on Friday, the brigade told the Standard the fire had been brought “under control but likely to continue burning for the next couple of days”.
Ten fire engines and an aerial ladder platform were initially scrambled to the scene.
Nine fire engines remained there on Friday morning, along with three aerial ladder platforms, and police. Firefighters are expected to remain at the scene over the weekend.
The fire brigade asked people to stay away from the scene, and urged those living nearby to keep their windows and doors closed.
On Twitter, it added that it had received a “high volume of calls” from people reporting the fire, which could be seen from miles away.
National Highways shared a photo on Twitter showing it clearly visible from the M25, between junctions 10 and 11, with huge amounts of smoke issuing high into the air above the busy orbital.
— National Highways: South-East (@HighwaysSEAST) May 19, 2023
Pride in Surrey said it was notified about the fire on Thursday night.
Posting on Twitter on Friday morning, the organisation said: “We are bracing ourselves for total loss. The unit housed lots of sentimental items that form our history, along with most of our assets that reduce the cost of pride year-on-year.”
Access Self Storage has been approached by the Standard for a comment.