UPDATED: More than 90 firefighters at Wretham blaze

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Ninety firefighters were called to a blaze at a waste recycling facility near Thetford yesterday.

The fire broke out in the Viridor Recycling Centre on the A1075 Thetford Road, in Wretham, at around 2.40am.

Scene outside the Viridor Recycling facility in Wretham  (Picture: Mark Westley)

Scene outside the Viridor Recycling facility in Wretham (Picture: Mark Westley)

Crews from Thetford, Brandon, Methwold, Elmswell and Ixworth were among the 14 fire engines that rushed to the scene, along with the aerial ladder platform from Earlham, a water carrier from Hethersett and control unit from Wymondham.

Incident commander Greg Preston, of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said crews arrived to find a ‘well developed’ fire in a building measuring about 30 metres by 30 metres, which contained a large pile of waste, and used hydraulic cutting equipment to gain entry.

“It was quite a significant fire in terms of the heat in the building was pretty high and crews had to cut their way in and also ventilate the building to get some of the heat and the smoke out,” he said.

Nearby residents were advised to keep their windows and doors closed to avoid the plumes of smoke billowing from the site and the Environment Agency was called in to monitor the situation.

Scene outside the Viridor Recycling facility in Wretham  (Picture: Mark Westley)

Scene outside the Viridor Recycling facility in Wretham (Picture: Mark Westley)

Mr Preston said: “While we wanted to get the fire out as quickly as possible we needed to make sure the water run off didn’t cause any unnecessary risk to the environment.”

A spokeswoman for the site said security personnel at Viridor’s Larkshall Depot in East Wretham reported a developing fire at about 3am.

She added: “Viridor staff worked through the night with fire service staff, using site machinery to shift waste and allow the fire service to gain better access to the fire.

“At 5pm yesterday only one appliance remained on site to monitor for flare-ups. The fire service left the site at 8am today. The Environment Agency was alerted and was on site.

“Viridor is very grateful for the efforts of the fire service and Viridor staff in containing and extinguishing the fire.”

A crew from Thetford returned to the site just after 1pm today to carry out a reinspection.