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Fire at Preston waste plant caused by battery inside a discarded vape

Posted on - 13th June, 2023 - 10:15pm | Author - | Posted in - Ashton-on-Ribble, Politics, Preston News
Wallend Road in Ashton-on-Ribble Pic: Google

Households have been issued with a warning after a huge fire at a household waste centre was started by a battery inside a disposable vape.

Lancashire County Council is reminding people to dispose of batteries responsibly after the fire at Preston Transfer Station on Saturday (10 June).

The fire, which took more than three hours to put out, is the second in the space of three months at the county’s recycling centres.

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Eight fire crews were called to Wallend Road, Ashton-on-Ribble, around 11.30am and the fire affected one tonne of cardboard.

Another fire at the same recycling centre in April caused around 40 tonnes of recycling products to be lost as they had to be disposed of.

Batteries which are thrown away in household rubbish bins cause about 700 fires evry year and the Environmental Services Association says these blazes cost fire services and waste operators around £158million each year.

County Councillor Shaun Turner, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change said: “It is vitally important that batteries are disposed of in the right way, as they can cause fires if they are damaged or crushed, leading to potentially deadly consequences.

“Not only do the batteries cause horrifying fires at our waste facilities, potentially putting staff and firefighters at risk, but Lancashire residents also risk house fires and wheelie bin fires at their own residences too.

“The batteries are inside items that you might not realise, and that is what makes them so dangerous. Examples of ‘hidden batteries’ are those found in disposable vapes, electrical toothbrushes and children’s toys, phones and laptops.

“This is the second blaze in just two months. The fires at our centres are not just dangerous, they also result in a loss of materials that were about to be successfully recycled and put a backlog on our services while the mess is cleaned up.

“This fire blazed through a tonne of cardboard – the same weight as a Volkswagen Beetle, so we are talking about vast quantities.

“We are relieved that none of our hardworking staff or any firefighters were injured in this incident.”

Details of how to dispose of batteries safely can be found at the county council website.

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