Explosions heard as huge fire hits Walsall battery plant

Another huge fire broke out at a Black Country battery recycling plant, with 50 firefighters tackling the blaze amid loud explosions.

The fire, at G&P Batteries in Darlaston, involved lithium batteries in a storage building crews used water from a nearby canal to help put it out.

It follows just weeks after a similar blaze at the same plant.

Explosions were reported at the Willenhall Road site and one staff member required treatment.

The building, in Crescent Works Industrial Estate, was evacuated with 40 staff fleeing the scene.

Crews said the major fire took hold quickly but they were able to bring the scene under control, with water pumped from a nearby canal.

West Midlands Fire and Rescue reported that the fire involved lithium batteries in a storage building.

Neil Spencer, a spokesman for the fire service, said: “This is a severe fire in a battery waste recycling plant involving lithium batteries.”

Managing director of the battery firm, Michael Green, said staff tried to keep fire risks to a minimum.

He said: “Some guys were working on some of the waste batteries which suddenly began to smoke and then burst into flames.

“The building was evacuated and the fire service was called immediately.

“One of the lads required treatment. Forty people had to be evacuated.

“We had a similar incident two weeks ago. We work with materials that do carry a risk but we try and make sure that risk is kept to a minimum.”

Crews from West Midlands Ambuance Service treated one person on scene, but said no one had to be taken to hospital.

Jamie Arrowsmith, West Midlands Ambulance spokesman, said: “We were called at 2.35pm to G&P Batteries Ltd.

“We treated a patient. No-one has been taken to hospital.

“We have two officers, a rapid response vehicle, ambualnce and hazardous area response team there.”

At 3.20pm there were nine fire engines on scene, two ambulances and three rapid response vehicles. Four police cars were also present.

By 4pm police and paramedics had left the scene and just three fire engines remained.

In January the night-time fire saw fire service again use water from a nearby canal to put the flames out. Initial investigations showed the cause of the fire to be accidental.

Several tons of batteries were well alight during the fire, which was believed to have been started by waste battery stock kept in the yard.

And back in March 2008, around 50 firefighters from across the region were called in to tackle another blaze where the flames reached 100ft high.

Of the latest incident, West Midlands Fire Service station commander Jonathan Herrick, said: “We had 10 fire engines pumping water from the nearby canal.

“The fire escalated quickly but we were able to put it out quickly as well.”

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