Severe blaze at Birmingham"s Smurfit Kappa paper mill being tackled by 100 firefighters

Severe paper mill blaze across seven-acre cardboard storage will keep burning for days
Blaze at Smurfit Kappa plant on seven-acre site in Nechells, BirminghamFire is in area containing cardboard boxes at recycled packaging mill
Ten thousands tons of cardboard has been burning through the night
Nobody thought to be trapped inside but fire was still burning at 2:30am

By
Mark Duell, Steve Nolan and James Rush

PUBLISHED:

01:44 GMT, 18 April 2013

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UPDATED:

09:56 GMT, 18 April 2013

Tens of thousands of tons of cardboard is expected to keep burning for days after a fire at a recycling plant.

More than 70 firefighters are tackling the blaze over a seven-acre area at the Smurfit Kappa paper mill in the Nechells area of Birmingham.

West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service said the fire had started just after 10pm last night.
They still have 20 fire crews on the site and at one point overnight 100 firefighters were on the scene near the M6 motorway.

Blaze: Some 15 fire engines and their crews were last night tackling the blaze at the Smurfit Kappa plant in the Nechells area of Birmingham

Blaze: Some 15 fire engines and their crews were last night tackling the blaze at the Smurfit Kappa plant in the Nechells area of Birmingham

Alight: About 10,000 tonnes of cardboard has been burning through the night in the 'severe' fire

Alight: About 10,000 tonnes of cardboard has been burning through the night in the 'severe' fire

Operation: Firefighters continued to tackle the fire this morning, which covers seven acres of bales at the Smurfit Kappa plant

Operation: Firefighters continued to tackle the fire this morning, which covers seven acres of bales at the Smurfit Kappa plant

One resident, who did not want to be
identified, living near to the industrial estate where the plant is
located, saw 'a bright light' but thought it was 'a lightning bolt'
caused by last night's blustery weather and went back to bed.

There have been no reports of
injuries according to emergency services and a police cordon remains in
place around the busy industrial and residential area.

Station commander Mal Fellows, of
WMFRS, said the fire was under control but the difficulty was in getting
water to the flames deep within the cardboard bales.

'It's still blazing but it is slowing down,' he said.

'We'll be here for some time.

'The issue we have is the getting to the fire deep underneath and that will take time.

'The good thing is the site is
intact, we've protected the buildings and the company had a good fire
plan operating which has helped us.'

No injuries: West Midlands Police said there had been no reported injuries, but advised people to avoid the area if possible

No injuries: West Midlands Police said there had been no reported injuries, but advised people to avoid the area if possible

Damping down: The fire is expected to take a couple of days to burn out

Damping down: The fire is expected to take a couple of days to burn out

He said residents to the north and
west of the blaze were being advised to keep their windows closed to
keep out the ash but said there were no toxic fumes and no health risk
to people living nearby.

The site in Mount Street is a recycled packaging mill, according to the company website.

According to its website Smurfit
Kappa is one of the leading producers of paper-based packaging in the
world with more than 41,000 employees in 32 countries. It has its
headquarters in Dublin.

The factory employs more than 100 people and has been making paper in the city for more than 150 years.

A
fire service spokesman told MailOnline at 2:30am that the fire was
still burning and was being fanned by high winds. 'It's quite an intense
blaze,' he said, adding that all people were accounted for.

'Motorway officers are also monitoring fire due to proximity to M6,' a West Midlands Police spokesman said on Twitter. 'No traffic problems at this stage.'

Site: The Smurfit Kappa plant in Mount Street is a recycled packaging mill

Site: The Smurfit Kappa plant in Mount Street is a recycled packaging mill