Family's dismay after third fire at Kilnhurst site in two years

By Chloe West | 08/03/2019

Family's dismay after third fire at Kilnhurst site in two years

A FED-UP dad said his family was being driven out of their beloved home by a string of fires at a recycling plant just metres away.

The 49-year-old father of two, who asked not to named, said the latest blaze at the site in Kilnhurst on Sunday morning was the “final catalyst” for the decision to leave. 

He said: “I must admit the fire freaked me out and my partner screamed: ‘It’s on fire again.’

“I have children and my family comes first, and for a five-year-old child to see three fires in the same place has a psychological impact on them — it’s unforgivable.”

The  Wharf Road resident said a major fire last summer had caused £10,000-worth of smoke damage to their home. 

He also said he believed the business involved — Universal Recycling — did not have a licence to operate on a Sunday.

“It’s been one thing after another, I didn’t think they could work Sundays,” he added.

“I’ve tried to ask them and the council questions and got nothing back —\!q now I’ve had enough — but I won’t go without getting some answers.” 

Another resident called for the recycling plant to be “shut down and relocated”, adding: “It was really alarming to see the fire and it’s not something I want to see on my doorstep. 

“There have been too many fires and something needs to be done — it’s not the best place for the business now there are residential houses nearby.” 

John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne, said he was “concerned” by reports of the latest fire and said he’s taking action on behalf of residents. 

“I am liaising with the Environment Agency and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue on behalf of residents to find out the cause of the blaze and seeking reassurances for safeguards to be implemented in the future,” he added. 

Firefighters were called to Universal Recycling at 9.30am on Sunday after machinery and equipment within the building had caught fire — with crews remaining on scene for over three hours. 

A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue confirmed the blaze was “accidental” and down to a battery catching fire. 

Police, Environment Agency and utilities staff were also called to the scene.
It was the third fire on the site in two years — in June 2017, 500 tonnes of plastic caught fire, causing schools, homes and businesses to be evacuated, and a year later, a blaze broke out at neighbouring firm Moulding Solutions due to faulty machinery.

A spokesperson for the EA confirmed they had inspected the recycling site on January 22. 

“We attended the site again on March 3, to support emergency services after a fire was reported,” they said. 

“The fire was dealt with quickly and initial assessments indicate all firewater was contained.”

The spokesperson said the EA not aware of any ongoing “environmental impact from the fire”, and that officers had returned on Tuesday to continue assessing environmental risk and any potential contamination to nearby watercourses.

Neither Universal Recycling nor Rotherham Borough Council responded to requests for comment.

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