A giant fire that destroyed a recycling plant and threatened neighbouring businesses yesterday was caused by a single lithium battery fire investigators have revealed this morning.
Fire crews from St Neots, Huntingdon, Ramsey, Chatteris, Gamlingay, Ely, Cambridge, March and Thorney were called to the recycling facility on Caxton Road Industrial Estate in St Ives at 2.36pm yesterday, Monday September 5.
The well-developed fire had already taken hold of the two-storey industrial unit that had spread to the roof. The fire was also spreading quickly to other nearby buildings.
It took four hours to finally extinguish the blaze and the incident was finally scaled down yesterday evening and at about 10pm just one crew remained at the scene, dampening down areas and keeping a watching brief throughout the night.
The final relief crew left the site at 7.30am this morning and handed the incident to the business owner.
Crews will return regularly to make inspections and dampen down where needed.
Following a full fire investigation, the cause of the fire was determined as accidental. It is believed the most likely cause of fire was a lithium battery that was caught up in the baling process of the recycled electrical items.
Station Commander Dave Lynch, one of the officers in charge of the incident, said: “The main building where the fire started has been completely destroyed by fire, however, fire crews worked extremely hard to prevent the fire from spreading anywhere else.
“The situation potentially could have been a lot worse as there are a number of other industrial units and businesses in very close proximity and had it not been for the skill and hard work of the crews, there could have easily been more than one unit seriously damaged by fire.
“External paint work of two other businesses has been damaged by radiated heat.
“All the business owners, staff and members of the public from the surrounding properties were fantastic yesterday and were very supportive of the crews’ work, which our firefighters really appreciated. We would like to thank the community for its support during tough incidents like these.”