Lithium-Ion Batteries Suspected Cause Of Recycling Centre Blaze

The fire is now under control and there is “no risk to public health”. 

Lithium-ion batteries are suspected to be the cause of an ongoing fire at the Virdior household waste recycling centre (HWRC) at Westhampnett near Chichester.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service were alerted to a fire at the site at 8:25pm on Tuesday 2 April.

On arrival, crews found a developing fire in the main building of the centre. At the height of the fire four fire engines and the aerial ladder platform were at the scene.

The fire is now under control and there is “no risk to public health”. 

Following consultation with the Environment Agency it was decided to allow the fire to burn in a controlled way and not use water, in order to prevent pollution to local water courses. This is being kept under close review.

Viridor – “These batteries are the main cause of waste site fires. They are commonly found in a variety of products, including mobile phones, toys, cameras, e-cigarettes and laptop computers”

The Westhampnett HWRC site is closed for the next few days at least and residents in the Chichester area have been asked to avoid using any site, if possible, in the meantime. 

The cause of the fire is not yet known, however, a Viridor spokesperson said the company suspects the cause is likely to be lithium-ion batteries.

Viridor said in a statement: “These batteries are the main cause of waste site fires. They are commonly found in a variety of products, including mobile phones, toys, cameras, e-cigarettes and laptop computers.

“Viridor and the county council thank the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Services for its ongoing assistance.

“We ask the public to dispose of batteries responsibly at a household waste recycling centre and, as summer approaches, to ensure that barbecue ashes have been to left to cool for at least 48 hours or made thoroughly wet before placing out for collection.”


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