Firefighters battle blaze in biomass plant at Port of Tyne

At the peak of the fire around 50 firefighters were involved in battling the blaze at a biomass plant at the Port of Tyne

Philip Young Fire at the biomass plant at the Port of Tyne, South Shields
Fire at the biomass plant at the Port of Tyne, South Shields

Firefighters were called out to tackle a blaze in a biomass plant at a North East port.

Nine crews were called to the Port of Tyne in South Shields just after 3pm yesterday.

Plumes of smoke could be seen from the roadside and, at the peak of the fire, around 50 firefighters were involved in battling the blaze, which broke out in a conveyor transfer tower storing biomass pellets.

Keith Trotter, group manager with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The fire was in a conveyor transfer tower at Port of Tyne. This is used to transfer wood pellet from the main storage facility to the rail loading silo.

“Access to the seat of the fire was difficult and dangerous.

“At the peak of the fire, crews applied six cooling water jets to dampen down the fire. It was a particularly challenging incident and we had to re-assess how we tackled the fire due to the difficult conditions our fire crews faced.

“Fire crews who were mobilised from all over Tyne and Wear should be praised for their professionalism and swift actions which helped to get the fire under control quickly.

“Firefighters will remain on-site for some time to ensure the fire does not re-ignite, and we would like to thank the Port of Tyne for their assistance.”

In total, nine fire appliances, one ariel ladder platform, an operational support unit and an incident command unit were used to battle the fire. No one was injured in the incident and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

A spokeswoman for the port said: “There has been an incident affecting part of the wood pellet transfer facility on the South Estate in South Shields, resulting in some damage to an external conveyor transfer tower.

“The fire brigade is in attendance. The situation is fully under control. No personnel were involved.” Back in October 2011, we told how firefighters spent 12 hours battling a fire at the Port of Tyne after a 200-tonne stockpile of biomass pellets in the port’s Tyne Dock in South Shields caught fire.

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