11 June 2014

A factory fire, which has been alight for nine days, has been ‘significantly reduced’, according to South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.

The fire, involving a large pile of wood chippings, broke out at the R Plevin and Sons factory in Sheffield on 2 June. 

Fire crews from West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire are still in attendance.

Diggers have been used to pull the pile of wood chippings apart, to identify and extinguish hot spots.

Weather conditions have meant that smoke from the fire can be smelt across much of South Yorkshire and residents are being advised to keep windows shut to prevent the smell spreading into their homes. The Environment Agency has released a statement to reassure the public that the smoke is harmless.

This is the second fire at the factory this year. In April, routine checks identified a smouldering wood pile. The factory attempted to damp down the fire itself but called in firecrews when a change in weather conditions increased the level of risk posed by the fire, which took four days to put out.

A spokesperson from R Plevin and Sons said: “South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue are still on site at our Hazlehead, Sheffield site. The damping down process is continuing and we do expect the situation to be resolved within the next few days.

“We are working closely with The Environment Agency and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service to ensure that lessons learnt from this and the previous incident have been put into practice. Health and Safety is paramount to our company and we will be conducting a full investigation as to how and why this fire started.”

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.