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Westwood Industrial Estate fire extinguished after three weeks

By Jodie Nesling

A huge fire which engulfed a warehouse filled with 16,000 bales of rubbish is finally out almost a month after it started.

The blaze inside an industrial unit in Enterprise Way, Westwood, took 25 days to extinguish due to the scale of the compacted refuse and concerns over site safety as demolition crews were called in.

Today, fire crews have pulled out from the scene two weeks ahead of schedule.

Mounds of rubbish at the scene (4614108)
Mounds of rubbish at the scene (4614108)

The fire service now deems the site safe and therefore will no longer have a presence there.

Public Health England’s advice to close windows and doors has now been lifted, as smoke is no longer emanating from the building.

At its peak, up to 70 firefighters tackled the blaze as the bales of wrapped household refuse went up in flames.

Vast plumes of smoke blew over Dane Valley, with Cliftonville and Northdown primary schools both keeping children in during break times.

Dozens of people, including children, were affected by the acrid smoke.

Asthma sufferers attended the QEQM hospital as they struggled to breathe.

The site, which is owned by British Virgin Islands company Conservation Property Holdings, will now be subject to an investigation by the Environment Agency as it was revealed that an enforcement notice to dispose of the rubbish was sent to the leaseholder in May last year.

The fire could be out this week (4614127)
The fire could be out this week (4614127)

The company says they leased the property with no knowledge the waste was being stored there illegally.

A spokesman for Kent Fire and Rescue Service has thanked the community for their patience.

They said: “On behalf of all the agencies involved throughout this incident, we would like to thank everyone living and working near the site for their cooperation over the past three weeks.

“The fire caused great inconvenience to some and we would like to thank you for your support while firefighters worked to make the area safe.”

Two 12-year-old girls, a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy - all from Margate - have been arrested in connection with the fire. Enquiries continue.

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