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1 July 2013, 15:42
A fire that started five days ago at an industrial estate in Weedon is still burning.
The fire that started on Wednesday 26th June at Quality Nut Products Ltd, on the Cavalry Hill Industrial Estate, Weedon continues to burn under controlled conditions, with Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue in attendance. The factory unit, contained around 500 tonnes of bird seed and peanuts.
As indicated last week, it is likely that smoke from this fire will last over the next week and although the health risk to local people is small, as all smoke is an irritant it can make people’s eyes and throats sore.
As a reminder, members of the public are advised to avoid being exposed to the smoke to prevent irritation. Residents located in areas affected by the smoke are recommended to stay indoors with the doors and windows closed until the smoke has passed. This is particularly important for people with existing respiratory problems. Motorists who have to travel through the smoke should keep windows closed, turn off any air conditioning and keep their air vents closed.
It is always advisable that people with existing respiratory conditions should carry and use their medication, such as inhalers.
The general advice is always, that people should try to remain out of the smoke as much as possible. If symptoms occur, people should seek medical advice or call NHS 111.
Working alongside fire and rescue crews, the ongoing situation is being closely monitored by public protection agencies including Public Health England, Daventry District Council’s Environmental Health Team, Northamptonshire County Council’s Emergency Planning Team and the Environment Agency.
The main issue on site is the need to manage the fact that when water is applied to the fire, it has to be contained and recycled to minimise contamination to the local waterways and the River Nene. A local fishing pond has already been affected and specialist contractors will be on site today to remove some of the contaminated water from that pond.
Dawn Whittaker, Deputy Chief Fire Officer at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "It is a fine balance between controlling and extinguishing the fire and protecting the waterways and the environment. We fully understand that local businesses and residents want it to end as soon as possible and I would like to assure them that we are reviewing the situation on a continual basis."
The building itself, having been structurally impacted is unsafe to enter and will be assessed by building surveyors later today, that fact also has a limiting effect on the level of firefighting that can be undertaken. In the meantime, it is likely that when the Fire And Rescue Service is in a position to undertake more active firefighting, that the smoke levels may increase before they get better and so people in the area are urged to follow the public health guidance that has been previously provided.