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 May 20, 2010
Tyre Fire In Doncaster

 Environmental bosses were last night putting their trust in a clay landfill lining to prevent water pollution from a major tyre blaze in Doncaster.

Residents were told to shut their windows and doors as around 2,000 tyres caught light at a landfill site in Hampole.

Smoke from the blaze at Hampole could be seen from 10 miles away as the blaze raged for hours yesterday, with firefighters expecting to still be at the scene this morning.

Environment Agency experts were also sent to the Hazel Lane Landfill, run by Catplant Ltd, because of concerns over possible pollution. But the fears were receding by the afternoon.

At the height of the blaze, there were 40 fighters from both South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire dealing with a fire which was thought to extend down to five metres below the surface.

At one stage, police were warning motorists on the A1(M) to concentrate on their driving because of concerns they were slowing to watch the column of smoke.

The Environment Agency was advising residents nearby to close their windows to avoid smoke and fumes getting into their homes.

A spokesman said: "We are working closely with the fire service. We regulate the site, and it is a permitted landfill site.

"We are looking at it as a potential risk of pollution in the air from the smoke and a water pollution risk from the methods used to control the fire.

"We have given the fire service permission to use foam and with in touch with the Health Protection Agency.

"Because it is within the landfill site, it is sealed so we are not predicting any problems with water leaking out."

The landfill is sealed with a clay lining which the agency says is designed to keep in what ever is put into it. Officers were condident it would prevent pollution to water courses.

Firefighters had to wait to be given permission to use foam on the fire because if it gets into the water course it can remove oxygen,
potentially harming wildlife.

The EA said in this case it was confident it could be kept inside the landfill.

Firefighters worked to prevent the blaze from spreading to another, larger pile of tyres, and built a fire break and a foam blanket.

Crews were called to the waste recycling plant at a quarry on Wakefield Road at around 4.50am.

South Yorkshire fire service Group Manager Dick Hutton said: "This is a deep-seated fire and we are expecting to be here for days rather than hours.

"Because of the amount of smoke in the area we would advise local residents to keep their doors and windows closed as a safety precaution."

Another group manager, John Roberts, who took over on the site later in the afternoon, said he expected the operation to continue into today, and said the risk of it spreading to other parts of the dump were minimal but still existed.

He said: "All the fire fireghters from South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire have worked extremely hard to fight the fire. They are likely to be here through until Tuesday at least."

Firefighters were initially tackling the fire with five water jets and a High Volume Pump which can pump out around 8,000 litres of water per minute.

No theories have yet been put forward for how the fire started, and a fire service spokesman said no investigations into the cause would be made until the blaze had been put out.

Doncaster Green Party secretary Stephen Platt was concerned about the possibilty of pollution arising from the blaze despite the assurances of the Environment Agency.

He said: "I think there are recycling strategies for tyres which would have been better used than dumping them them into landfill.

"Whether there is going to be any pollution, I would say know one really knows. They always make calming statements."

Ward councillor for Hampole, Coun Jonathan Wood, said he planned to visit the site to see what could be done to prevent any future fires at the site.