THE owner of a South Oxfordshire hazardous chemicals recycling depot that was the scene of a blaze at the weekend has apologised to residents.
Grundon Waste Management Ltd labelled it as a “relatively small fire” caused plumes of thick black smoke that could be seen for miles around the depot in Ewelme, near Benson, on Saturday night.
Residents living up to 10 miles away were warned to shut their windows after 75 firefighters and 10 fire engines tackles the Goulds Grove blaze, caused by hot weather igniting oily rags.
Grundon managing director Clayton Sullivan-Webb said: “We would like to thank all the emergency services staff who attended the fire over the weekend, for their constructive support and efficient and effective management of this incident.
"We would also like to apologise to any local residents who may have been inconvenienced by the smoke.
“This was mainly caused by burning plastic containers, solvent based paints, oily rags and aerosol cans. It was a relatively small fire which generated a lot of smoke.
"We can confirm no one was injured during the fire, which was contained in the reception area of the transfer station.
"CCTV footage from the site seems to suggest there were no suspicious circumstances.
The very warm weather and intense sunlight may have caused waste grease and oily rags to spontaneously ignite.
"We will continue to work closely with the emergency services to confirm the cause of the fire and any necessary mitigation works on site.
"The rest of the depot and the vehicle fleet were not affected by the fire and we will continue to offer our regular services to customers.”
Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service was called at 7.20pm and the blaze was put out by 3am.
Environment Agency fume tests found no danger to health and the fire service said the warnings to residents within a three-mile radius were a precaution.
Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Paul Smith said: “The council’s contract with Grundon is not impacted in any way by the fire.
“The part of the facility that the fire was affected by is not part of our contract.”
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