A COMMUNITY centre is being is used for a voluntary evacuation as part of the major operation to tackle a huge fire at a recycling plant.
Kilnhurst Community Resource Centre on Victoria Street is providing space for people to go after a number of streets were blocked off close to the Universal Recycling plant on Wharf Road in Swinton.
More than 30 fire officers are in attendance and it is believed that up to 500 tonnes of plastic are ablaze.
A centre spokesman said only seven or eight people had attended so far but more were expected after the schools close.
He said: “We have opened up the centre at the police’s request in case there is anybody who cannot go back to their house, or for kids coming from school.
“We might have some more later as two or three streets have been blocked off.”
The spokesman said the centre would remain open all night if necessary, and added: “We are just waiting to see what develops.”
Police are urging people living nearby to stay indoors and keep doors and windows closed.
Drivers are being told to steer clear of the area and bus services have been disrupted.
Crews from Rotherham, Dearne, Edlington, Aston and Tankersley were called to the scene at 9.59am.
The blaze sent a huge plume of black smoke into the air.
The community centre spokesman said: “There must be half the South Yorkshire Police force there, along with fire officers, health and safety officials, and people from the council.
“The smoke is dropping down now to breathing level.
“This morning from where we live it was really thick, black smoke and we could see things coming up as if it was exploding all the time.”
500 tonnes of plastic could be on fire at recycling plant