STATION commander Steve Fox has praised the response of the 65 firefighters who battled the massive blaze which broke out in a Bromsgrove wax recycling plant on Monday.
Speaking to The Standard Steve Fox said without their skills and expertise the fire could have been a lot worse.
The blaze, which started at 6.30pm on the Saxon Business Park, sent up clouds of smoke that could be seen for miles around.
Mr Fox said: “I was in Evesham and I could see the smoke from the High Street so I knew it was bad.”
He said the priority of the first crews on the scene was to stop it spreading. There was also gas cylinders on the site and a running fuel fire.
Several workers from nearby units were evacuated but no one was injured in the incident.
On the advice of Public Health England, the fire service issued a warning to residents across the district, particularly those living near the business park, to keep all of their doors and windows closed.
In total, at the height of the incident, there were 15 engines and support vehicles at the scene from 12 fire stations across the two counties, including Bromsgrove, Redditch, Droitwich, Kidderminster, Worcester, Upton-on-Severn, Evesham, Pebworth, Pershore, Leomster, Malvern and Ross-on-Wye. The Deputy Chief Fire Officer also attended, along with police and ambulance crews.
“Because of the nature of what was burning – recycled wax – the fire would have continued to burn for a very long time.” added Mr Fox.
He said as the fire had already taken hold of the unit it began in, nothing could be done to save it so the focus had to be to stop it spreading.
“Because of the way those units are built, in intense heat they will collapse and when that happened it made our job of bringing the fire under control easier.”
Firefighters were able to jet Compressed Air Foam to smother the flames.
The fire was eventually brought under control, five hours later at 1am when one engine remained to damp down the area.
Mr Fox said: “Looking back, it was a first class effort by everyone involved – it was a very challenging fire and, bearing in mind what was burning, it was brought under control very quickly.
“The incident was concluded as quickly as it could have been and the impact on the surrounding businesses was minimal.”
The cause of the blaze is still being investigated. Fire investigators went onto the site on Tuesday morning and have been working with officials from Public Health England and the Environment Agency. Their report is expected soon.