Commercial building fire in Lancaster

Date: 03/12/2023

Time: 05:31:00

Address: Port Royal Avenue, Lancaster

Incident Number: 2312000896

Update on 15 January 2024:

We have a further update from the former A1 SupaSkips site in Lancaster.

Waste removal teams continue to work at the site. While the main fire has been extinguished, occasional pockets of deep-seated fire are being uncovered. When this happens, the waste removal teams are contacting North West Fire Control and Lancashire firefighters are attending. When these small fires are extinguished, some steam or smoke may be released. If your property is affected, please keep your windows and doors closed.

We continue to work closely with partner agencies to make the site safe as soon as possible.

Thank you for your patience during this incident.


Update on 20 December:

We have a further update from the former A1 SupaSkips site in Lancaster.

The situation on-site remains much the same as yesterday. Our firefighters continue to dampen down waste as it is removed by the demolition teams, with temperature monitoring ongoing using thermal imaging equipment. This work will continue as we aim to reduce our presence at the scene over the coming days.

There continues to be very minimal smoke at the scene, but please keep your windows and doors closed if you smell smoke. Please continue to avoid the area for your own safety.

We’d like to thank Lancaster’s residents and local businesses for their continued patience and support.


Update on 19 December:

The demolition team continues to make good progress by removing burnt waste from the site. Firefighters are on-hand to dampen down any hotspots to prevent the fire from reigniting. We are regularly checking the waste with thermal imaging cameras, which highlight areas that are too hot compared to the ambient temperature. Remaining waste is also being separated into individual piles to further reduce fire risk.

The smoke plume is now minimal at the site. However, please continue to keep your windows and doors closed if you do smell any smoke. For your safety, please keep away from the area while our crews work.

Thank you once again to all local residents and businesses for your support as we strive to bring this incident to a close a quickly as possible.


Update on 18 December:

The demolition team has made good progress by demolishing the outbuildings and removing a significant proportion of the waste from the site. Due to the additional funding Lancaster City Council put towards this incident, this work has been extended and we are now confident that the fire will be extinguished by the end of the week.

Over the weekend, the smoke plume had reduced significantly but as the waste is removed from the site today there may be small pockets of smoke but firefighters should be able to get on top of this quickly so the disruption to the residents and businesses are kept to a minimum.

Residents and businesses may continue to smell the waste as it is disrupted but air quality monitoring will continue to take place and we will work with other agencies to update any changes to our health advice, if it is needed.

For now we continue to advise people to stay away from the site and keep windows and doors closed if they can smell the smoke or waste.

We appreciate the support we have received from our partner agencies over the last two weeks and, from you, the public. We understand that this has affected local residents and businesses but we are doing all we can to make sure this fire will be extinguished in the next few days.


Update on 15 December:

Our firefighting operations are continuing today in conjunction with the demolition work and removal of waste from the site.
The demolition of the outbuildings is complete, and the contractors have begun to remove waste from the main building where the fire is burning. This work will disturb the fire which will cause the smoke plume to fluctuate more than it has done recently but our firefighters will be doing all they can to limit the disruption to the local community. However, this work will enable us to extinguish the fire quicker.
Our priority is the safety of you, the local residents and businesses. We are working with the Environment Agency to protect residents from the smoke plume and protect the surrounding areas from the water run-off.
We are continuing to advise people to keep out of the smoke plume and keep their windows and doors closed if they can smell smoke.
If you can no longer see any smoke outside, consider ventilating your home with fresh air, take the opportunity to open your windows and doors, but remember to close them again if the smoke returns.
For your own safety, please stay away from the incident ground as there are vehicles moving around the site taking part in the demolition and extinguishing the fire.
We thank the public, partner agencies and demolition contractors for their support during this incident.

Update on 14 December:

Our aerial ladder platform (ALP) has been a key asset with its 30-metre height, 21-metre side reach, and 2,500 litres per minute water supply. In this situation, it’s acting as a water tower and providing vital aerial views to strategise our firefighting efforts.
Not just that, the ALP is assisting the demolition team in removing parts of the structure of the building to help firefighters gain better access.
The incident we are dealing with at the former SupaSkips site is a large building fire containing approximately 13,000 tonnes of commercial waste. The seat of fire is beneath large quantities of compact waste and pockets of fire is continuing to smoulder deep within the piles.
As a result, the fire continues to produce a smoke plume and residents are advised to keep windows and doors closed if they can see or smell smoke. If you are experiencing health effects that you think may be related to the incident, seek medical advice by calling NHS 111 or by contacting your GP.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, Lancashire County Council, Lancaster City Council, Environment Agency, and the UK Health Security Agency are working together to monitor the air quality, the direction of the smoke plume and the weather forecast. This monitoring will continue throughout the week and into the weekend, and the data from these sensors will inform the public health messaging.

Update on 13 December:

Firefighters continue to monitor and extinguish the deep-seated fire which is located underneath large quantities of compact waste. These pockets of fire can continue to smoulder deep within the piles for a long period of time.
Our crews from Burnley Fire Station are currently operating a High-Volume Pump (HVP) 24 hours a day.
The HVP is deployed into the River Lune, around 2km from the incident ground. The pump uses a 150mm hose to provide an overground water main and delivers 7,000 litres of water a minute.
The tidal effect on the river levels requires constant monitoring and adjustment of the pump to ensure there is enough water remaining in the river.
We are working alongside the Environment Agency, who are on site providing guidance on the removal of the waste to an appropriately licenced waste management site. The contractors are licenced under the Duty of Care Regulations to transport this demolition waste.
The Environment Agency is also providing guidance on containing fire water, to minimise any external impacts.
Demolition work is continuing alongside our firefighting operations. During this time, please keep away from the site for your own safety and to make sure that our work is not impeded.
As the demolition takes place, firefighters are able to get greater access to the site and this has increased the amount of water that is being put on to the fire. However, this additional water can cause the smoke plume to fluctuate in volume, colour, and smell.
The safest place to be is indoors where you will be protected from the worst of the smoke if you keep the doors and windows closed. If you are experiencing health effects that you think may be related to the incident, seek medical advice by calling NHS 111 or by contacting your GP.

Update on 12 December:

Firefighters are continuing to extinguish the fire in the large building that contains a large quantity of compacted waste, in conjunction with the demolition work and removal of waste from the site.
The fire is deep seated and is going to take considerable time and resources to extinguish. Over the weekend, we have been trialing a new robot, which has enabled us to get more water on to the fire.
For your own safety, please stay away from the incident ground as there are lots of vehicles involved in the demolition and extinguishing of the fire.
If you can see or smell smoke from the incident, keep windows and doors closed, keep any respiratory medication to hand, minimise physical exertion and contact medical services if you are feeling unwell.
It is also important that when circumstances allow, such as when the plume is not affecting you, you should ventilate your property to replace contaminated air with fresher air. Should this advice need to change, residents will be contacted.
If you’re experiencing health effects that you think may be related to the smoke, please seek medical advice by calling NHS 111 or by contacting your GP. If you have an existing health condition, discuss your concerns and symptoms with a GP. In case of an emergency, call 999.
Thank you for your continued support.
For the latest FAQs, visit Lancaster City Council’s dedicated web page.

Update on 11 December:

Our firefighters are continuing to extinguish the fire in the large building which contains over 13,000 tonnes of compacted waste. This weekend, we have been trialling a new robot which has enabled us to get greater access to the fire and we will continue to do as much as we can to extinguish the fire as quickly as possible.

The demolition of the outbuildings and the removal of waste from the outer perimeter has been taking place over the weekend.

The smoke plume has been fluctuating in terms of the volume, colour and smell and this will persist for a protracted period. The air quality is consistently being measured by Lancaster City Council.

The safest place to be is indoors where you will be protected from the worst of the smoke if you keep the doors and windows closed. With emergency operations expected to continue for prolonged period, it would be advisable to avoid unnecessary travel near the area of the fire, both to reduce exposure to smoke and to allow the emergency services and other incident responders to have free access to the site.

If you are experiencing health effects that you think may be related to the incident, seek medical advice by calling NHS 111 or by contacting your General Practitioner (GP). If a medical consultant is already treating an existing health condition, discuss your concerns and symptoms with them. In the case of an emergency call 999.

Thank you for your continued support.


Update on 10 December:

Firefighters continue to monitor and extinguish the deep-seated fire which is located underneath large quantities of compact waste. These pockets of fire can continue to smoulder deep within the piles for a long time. Our crews are working alongside our partner agencies and the demolition crews, to bring the incident to a safe conclusion as quickly as possible.

The safest place to be is indoors where you will be protected from the worst of the smoke if you keep the doors and windows closed. With emergency operations expected to continue for prolonged period, it would be advisable to avoid unnecessary travel, particularly near the area of the fire, both to reduce exposure to smoke and to allow the emergency services and other incident responders to have free access to the site.

If you are experiencing health effects that you think may be related to the incident, seek medical advice by calling NHS 111 or by contacting your General Practitioner (GP). If a medical consultant is already treating an existing health condition, discuss your concerns and symptoms with them. In the case of an emergency call 999.

Thank you for your continued support.


Update at 14:00 on 9 December:

Our firefighters continue to work alongside our partner agencies to monitor and extinguish the deep-seated fire in the main building. As the demolition takes place, firefighters have been able to get greater access to the site and this has increased the amount of water that is being put on to the fire.
However, this additional water can cause the smoke plume to fluctuate in volume, colour, and smell. The safest place to be is indoors where you will be protected from the worst of the smoke if you keep the doors and windows closed. If you need to be outdoors, you are advised to avoid outside areas affected by any smoke or ash, or to limit the time that you spend in them.
If you are experiencing health effects that you think may be related to the incident, seek medical advice by calling NHS 111 or by contacting your General Practitioner (GP).
This is an ongoing incident, as the fire involves 13,000 tonnes of commercial waste, this fire is going to take a significant amount of time and resources to extinguish. Lancaster City Council, the Environment Agency, Lancashire Constabulary, UKHSA and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service are working together to reduce the risks posed by the site. We would like to thank all businesses and residents for their patience and support.


Update at 16:30 on 8 December:

Our firefighters are continuing to extinguish the deep-seated fire in the main building. With the fire involving 13,000 tonnes of commercial waste, this fire is going to take a significant amount of time and resources to extinguish.

We are aware that the smoke plume is affecting local businesses and residents. The smoke plume is being monitored and we are working with the Environment Agency Lancaster City Council and the UK Health Security Agency to ensure we are giving the most appropriate advice to businesses and residents.

For now, our advice is to stay away from the smoke and to keep windows and doors closed and we have established contingency plans to ensure the safety of residents and businesses.

Demolition work is continuing alongside our firefighting operations. During this time, please keep away from the site for your own safety and to make sure that our work is not impeded.

Europa Way remains closed and access to the industrial park is still limited but we are doing all we can, along with our partners, to keep this disruption to a minimum and extinguish the fire as quickly as possible. Thank you for your continued support.


Update on 8th December:

We understand the impact on residents whilst the incident is on-going. We are doing everything we can, together, with our partner agencies to bring the incident to a conclusion.

The following advice is from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA):

Any smoke can be an irritant and as such, if people need to be outdoors, they are advised to avoid outside areas affected by any smoke or ash, or to limit the time that they spend in them.
Some substances present in smoke can irritate the lining of the air passages, the skin and the eyes. Respiratory symptoms include coughing and wheezing, breathlessness, sputum (phlegm) production and chest pain. Chemicals in the smoke can worsen existing health problems like asthma. People with asthma should carry their inhaler.

If you have any concerns about the smoke’s impact on your health please call your GP surgery for advice, following any instructions for out of hours services, or contact the NHS 111 service (which is free from both landlines and mobiles and open 24/7).

There are a number of local authority managed air quality monitoring sites including those based in Lancaster town centre; these are currently located upwind of the incident and pollutant levels are typical of background levels. The sites are being monitored as this incident continues.


Update 14:30 on 7 December

One of the issues that’s impeding the firefighting efforts is a collection of lean-to structures and outbuildings within the sites’ boundary, which are blocking access to the main building. These outbuildings also contain waste which could itself catch fire and make the situation worse.

To aid the firefighting efforts, the city council has agreed to contribute to the costs of clearing and removing these outbuildings. The Council has committed just over £250,000 towards the initial stages of this work.

The deep-seated fire continues to produce a smoke plume and residents are advised to keep their windows and doors closed if they can smell smoke.

The road closures, including Europa Way, are still in place and access to the industrial park is limited. With the extra machinery arriving on the site for the demolition work, we continue to ask the public to assist by staying away from the area for their own safety and to avoid hindering emergency operations on the site.


Update 13:30 on 6th December:

Firefighting operations continue at the scene. Our priority is to extinguish the fire and work closely with the Environment Agency to minimise any potential environmental consequences stemming from water runoff.
The fire continues to produce a visible smoke plume, and we strongly advise residents to avoid the area and keep their windows and doors closed if they can the smell smoke.
We are continuing to work with Lancaster City Council Environment Agency Lancashire Police and Lancashire County Council and we remain focused to bring this incident to a safe conclusion as swiftly as possible, while minimising disruptions to the local community.
Finally, we would like to say to thank you to the residents and businesses for their support since Sunday morning.

Update at 13:30 on 5th December:

Firefighting operations continue at this large building fire containing approximately 13,000 tonnes of commercial waste. The seat of fire is beneath large quantities of compact commercial waste and pockets of fire can continue to smoulder deep within the piles for a long time.

As a result, the fire continues to produce a smoke plume and residents are advised to keep their windows and doors closed if they can smell smoke.

Several road closures are in place including Europa Way and access to the industrial park is limited. With emergency operations expected to continue for several days members of the public can assist by staying away from the area. This is for their own safety and to avoid hampering emergency operations.

We continue to work with Lancaster City Council, the Environment Agency, Lancashire Police and Lancashire County Council to bring this incident to a safe conclusion as quickly as possible and keep disruption to local residents and business to a minimum. Thank you.


Update at 12:00 on 4th December:

There are a number of fire appliances in attendance along with an aerial ladder platform and the drone unit. Firefighters are continuing to extinguish the fire, so please avoid the area. Please continue to keep your windows and doors closed.


Update at 17:30

Firefighters are continuing to extinguish the fire and keep the site secure throughout the night.

There is still a large smoke plume coming from the former A1 Supa Skips site and Europa Way is still closed.

Local residents are still being advised to close windows and doors and keep out of the smoke plume.


10 fire engines from Lancashire and Cumbria have been called to a commercial building fire on Port Royal Avenue, Lancaster. The fire involves a large building containing commercial waste.

A large smoke plume is visible from the site and firefighters are using specialist equipment such as aerial ladder platforms, a stinger and hazardous materials unit to bring the fire under control.

People in the local area are advised to keep out of the smoke plume and keep windows and doors shut if they can see or smell smoke.

No injuries have been reported and we are working with partners to make the site safe. Europa Way is currently closed, and people are advised to keep clear of the area.