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Hundreds of tonnes of wood chippings go up in flames

Firefighters rushed to extinguish a huge blaze at Eversley Haulage Park, which saw 500 tonnes of wood chippings catch on fire

Hampshire Fire and Rescue
The fire at Brick House Hill, Eversley

Firefighters from 10 stations helped extinguish a huge blaze at Eversley Haulage Park which saw 500 tonnes of wood chippings go up in smoke.

In the early hours of Sunday July 27 there was a fire at R Collards’ demolition site, in Brickhouse Hill.

Firefighters from stations including Rushmoor, Fleet, Basingstoke, Camberley and Crowthorne extinguished the blaze which involved a wood chipping machine and 40 sq/m of chippings.

Hampshire firefighter Jerry Leonard, who led the crews, said: “It was a long old job, we were there for around eight hours. Even though it was still pretty dark when we arrived, at 3.30am, there was a visible glow. We had crews from around the county come to help ferry water. The wood chippings were used to fuel power stations and, we learnt, they burn quite well.

“I believe the pulping machine costs around £300,000 to replace. Another machine close by was damaged but can be repaired.”

The cause of the fire, which completely destroyed one wood chipping machine, is yet to be determined. Staff from R Collards were on the scene straight away to help prevent the inferno spreading.

“R Collards very promptly got there to assist us,” Mr Leonard said. “It used some of its big machines to separate piles of materials around the area to make gaps.”

Eversley Haulage Park is owned by racing driver Robert Collard, best known for competing in the British Touring Car Championship.

Launched in 1994 by the father-of-two, the business offers demolition, remediation and waste management solutions for contractors and property developers.

The park is made up of two sites, located across the road from each other.

Buckets were also attached to grab machines to dampen the area afterwards and four jets, two earth movers and a bulldozer were used with the incident ending at 11.20am.

A spokesman for R Collard described it as “one of those unfortunate incidents”.

He said: “This is the first time this has happened and the incident is still being investigated. It will affect our operation at Brickhouse Hill but not our main site.

“It will cause some disruption until we straighten things out.

“The fire was reported to the fire brigade by a passer-by, no one was on the site at the time.

“The important thing was to get the fire extinguished to make the area safe and on Monday we collected our thoughts.

“No one was hurt. We are still assessing the damage and expect it will cost a considerable amount of money to sort out. We opened as usual on Monday with staff in as normal.”

 

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