Cannock chemicals blaze: Agencies in talks over fire close to homes

Talks have been held as part of an incident review after a fire at a chemical waste transfer station next to a new housing estate in Cannock.

The scene of the blaze. Left image: @kelmaddox. Right: @burtonuk
The scene of the blaze. Left image: @kelmaddox. Right: @burtonuk

A safety review and a fire investigation are under way after materials erupted into flames at Axil Integrated Services at Cannock Industrial Centre, in Walkmill Lane, Bridgtown, on Monday.

More than 40 firefighters tackled the blaze at its height as frightened residents fled their homes after being woken up by popping noises which rapidly escalated into explosions.

In a statement, Cannock Chase Council said: “Following Monday’s fire, a meeting has now been held involving Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service, the Environment Agency, Walsall Housing Group and Cannock Chase Council with Axil Integrated Services as the owner of the chemical storage site.

“Responsibility for regulating the activities carried on at Axil’s site, as far as any implications for air or water pollution are concerned, rests with the Environment Agency, with the Health & Safety Executive taking responsibility for regulating and enforcing workplace health and safety standards.

The Axil chemical waste transfer plant at Cannock Industrial Centre next to Haling Way

“The Environment Agency is now reviewing this incident and will be able to present its findings in a few weeks’ time. Once the findings are available, the council and Walsall Housing Group will liaise with the agency on how best to communicate relevant information to residents.

“The council will also contribute to reviewing current mitigation measures put in place in the event of a fire and will work with partners to ensure residents are informed of the outcome of these considerations.

“Walsall Housing Group has been liaising with tenants since the incident took place and we understand that Axil will produce and distribute information to residents living close by, providing reassurance as to the ongoing safety of the site.

“In the meantime, we are grateful for the prompt response of the fire service, who brought the fire under control very quickly, due to well-rehearsed plans developed in consultation with Axil.”

The fire service said the cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but may be related to the recent thunderstorm as water-reactive materials were present in the yard.

Residents clear up the aerosol cannisters next to the heat-resistant barrier in Haling Way

Residents living in nearby Haling Way and Barge Close were among those evacuated from their homes by the emergency services shortly after 6.30am. The heat resulted in exploding aerosol cans being blown into the street behind the fenced depot. At least one vehicle was struck and some cans were blown over rooftops into back gardens.

Some residents have called on housing bosses to relocate them due to safety concerns.

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