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Progress made in mattress mountain fire at Smarden Business estate, say firefighters

Firefighters says they have made good progress throughout the day tackling a huge fire at a recycling centre.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service says that, with the support of technical rescue team, crews have been able to put out some of the deep seated sections of fire within the mattresses in one of the storage units at Smarden.

They have done this through dragging them out and extinguishing the hot spots.

A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman announced at 5pm today: "Crews used the Bobcat (digger) and worked with a local scaffolding company excavator. Operations have been scaled back this evening with crews performing a watching brief overnight.

Fire crews at the scene
Fire crews at the scene

"Firefighting operations will begin again in the morning carrying out a similar approach in gaining access to the hot spots and extinguishing them."

The fire in Smarden. Credit: Louisa Peachey
The fire in Smarden. Credit: Louisa Peachey

Dozens of firefighters have been working at Smarden Business Estate, between Ashford and Tenterden, since 11.30am yesterday to get the huge blaze under control.

An estimated 1,000 tonnes of rubbish caught fire including mattresses in a controversial "mattress mountain" and five shipping containers.

Two large storage units had been completely destroyed in the fire and became structurally unsafe.

Crews are using rakes to pull apart the piles of mattresses which were being stored outside, with concerns about deep-seated fire at the heart of the piles.

Firefighters are then using hose reels to tackle the fire within the mattresses.

2015 there were piles of thousands of mattresses on the site, stacked as high as five metres and weighing more than 2,000 tonnes.

Last year recycler Lewis Bertram was warned he could be jailed over the eyesore.

It is unclear how much of that waste has been cleared since.

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