Dagenham recycling centre fire biggest in London for years
19:46 12 August 2012
More than 200 firefighters have tackled a blaze in Dagenham described as the biggest in the capital for several years.
London Fire Brigade was called at about 1.15pm when flames took hold at Hunts Waste Recycling centre in Dagenham, with smoke visible for miles as the single-storey building burned.
Fire cover at Olympic venues had not been affected and there were no injuries, a spokesman confirmed.
There were initial reports that people could see the smoke from the Olympic Park, about six miles away.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “We’ve not seen a fire of this size in London for several years - it’s certainly a dramatic end to the Olympics for the London Fire Brigade.
“That said though, we are still able to attend incidents across the capital and the fire cover we’re providing at the Olympic venues has not been affected.
“At this stage we aren’t sure how the blaze started as our focus is getting the flames under control.
“Fire crews will remain at the scene for as long as necessary and a thorough investigation will begin once the fire is out in order to establish how it started.”
At its height the whole of the 100m (330ft) by 50m building was ablaze and some 40 fire engines were at the scene.
Jacqui Smith, manager of Hunts Diner, which sits beside the site, said the cafe was shut when the fire started. “Someone called to say there was a blaze at the recycling centre, and I was really worried the cafe had burnt down,” she told the Post today. “You couldn’t access the street on Sunday so I had to wait until today to find out. Thankfully it’s OK, but we don’t have any electricity for a few days so a lot of the food will be ruined. But I’m happy no one was hurt.”
The fire was under control by 5pm, but firefighters will continue damping the building down overnight.
The Olympic closing ceremony was due to start at 9pm.
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