By Oliver Hall
A fire at a tyres recycling plant that has been belching out smoke for nearly four weeks could rag for years if not tackled properly, according to firefighters.
The blaze at Murfutts tyres plant in Littleport is already expected to burn for around another month, causing more misery and health fears for local residents and businesses.
However, Chris Strickland, deputy chief fire officer, warned that firefighters are facing a “very complex and difficult fire situation”.
They have been using water sprays to reduce smoke, while removing sections of the burning rubber by digger and dousing them in water.
But Mr Strickland said the tyres contain pieces of metal, meaning the rubber must be cooled for lengthy periods to prevent it bursting into flames again.
He added: “If you do something like smother the fire with sand or some other inert material, you can have a fire that burns for years.
“If we can get it out within the next three to four weeks and return to normality, that will be a very good solution for the surrounding community.
“And also we’ll be able to do it in a way that will minimise environmental damage.”
Last week, it was revealed the rubber is still burning at 700C.
Emma Cousins, a spokeswoman for the service, said: “We cannot think of any fire that has been as big as this in the UK. There has been one similar in America but this is the biggest we have ever had to deal with.”