Firefighters tackle ‘severe fire’ at Edinburgh recycling plant


A firefighter helps reel in a hose at the Biffa plant

By Martin Graham

SMOKE from a major fire at a recycling plant in Edinburgh could be seen from as far away as Fife yesterday.

Six fire engines and four special appliances were deployed to bring the fire at the Biffa plant on West Shore Road under control.

At its height there were eight firefighters in breathing apparatus inside the building.

The intensity of the flames was enough to cause part of the roof to collapse directly above the centre of the fire, and there was evidence that the steel structure of the building had buckled and warped in the heat.

Speaking at the scene, Fire Group Manager Robert Taylor said: “We got the call at around 5.25am and personnel from Crewe Toll responded initially.

“They quickly called for support and crews from across Edinburgh made their way to the site.

“It was important to contain the blaze quickly as it might have spread to other buildings and there were also fuel tanks nearby.

“The crews used four hoses to tackle the worst of it and we managed to contain the fire.

“There was some concern over the structure of the building due to a section of roof collapsing.

“The fire was substantial, you could see the pall of smoke from right across the city.”

An employee of Biffa, who did not wish to be named, confirmed that the smoke could be seen from miles away.

He said: “I come from Rosyth, and you could see the smoke from the other side of the Forth.

“I didn’t realise that it was my workplace that was on fire until I got much closer.

“I arrived just before six and the night shift crew had already been evacuated and sent home.

“They have told us that we won’t be working today, but I have been asked to stick around in case there is any help needed in clearing up.”

A spokesman for Biffa said: “The fire may have originated in some material brought into the plant.

The Biffa plants processes recycled waste from right across Edinburgh, including plastics, cardboard and paper.