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Crews deal with compost fire on Derbyshire industrial estate

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Firefighters have controlled a fire at a waste disposal plant in Ashbourne after plumes of smoke could be seen coming from the site.

Six fire engines, one aerial ladder platform, one support vehicle and one water carrier were sent to the Airfield Industrial Estate in Ashbourne at 8:07am on Thursday, November 25, a spokesperson for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said.

They were called to attend a fire which had reportedly started at the Vital Earth waste recycling premises on the estate in Blenheim Road and involved "compostable vegetation", they said on Twitter.

By 12:45pm four engines remained on scene, but were scaling down, after being replaced by other crews as relief.

An statement from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service this morning said: "We currently have 6 fire appliances dealing with a fire at Airfield Industrial Estate in Ashbourne.

"The fire is involving compostable vegetation.

"Crews from Ashbourne, Nottingham Road, Duffield, Belper, Wirksworth, Ascot Drive with the Aerial Ladder Platform and Buxton with the control unit are all in attendance.

"The service received the call to attend the incident at 08:08 hours this morning.

"No further information is available."

A reporter at the scene this morning said that they were told by a staff member that the fire was not large scale, but due to the abundance of material caused a lot of smoke to be produced.

They added that they could smell burning several miles away.

A Vital Earth spokesperson told Derbyshire Live at around 9:40am that the fire was "nothing to worry about" and that no one was injured, but would not comment on the cause or location of the fire on the site.

It is not the first fire to affect the plant, with two fires in 2008.

One was caused by compostable material, after which the company said measures had been put in place to ensure it would never happen again. The other was in a metal recycling plant.

Vital Earth - a waste recycling company - uses waste to create sustainable composts, fertilisers and other products at its £10 million site in Ashbourne, which opened in 2006.

The family company employs around 30 staff and focuses on waste management, sustainable agriculture and green roofs, where rooftops are turned into garden features.

It works with Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council, among others, on waste disposal.

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12:48Callum Parke

Fire under control and crews scaling down

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service have said four crews remain at the scene in Ashbourne but they have been swapped over as relief.

The incident is under control and is now being scaled down by firefighters.

12:02Callum Parke

What do Vital Earth do?

Vital Earth - a waste recycling company - uses waste to create sustainable composts, fertilisers and other products at its £10 million site in Ashbourne, which opened in 2006.

The family company employs around 30 staff and focuses on waste management, sustainable agriculture and green roofs, where rooftops are turned into garden features.

It works with Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council, among others, on waste disposal.

11:35Callum Parke

Update from reporter at the scene

A Derbyshire Live reporter at the scene says that two fire engines have now left, with the remaining crews helping to ensure the smouldering fire is fully contained.

It is believed that the fire was not large scale, but a staff member said that the abundance of material led to a large amount of smoke.

There was a smell of burning paper and rubber, and it also smelt "like a dirty bin" according to the reporter.

11:07Callum Parke

Fire not the first to break out at Vital Earth site

Two fires broke out at the Vital Earth site in 2008.

One was also connected to compost, which overheated, and the company said at the time that measures had been taken to ensure it would never happen again.

Another then broke out in December 2008, in a metal recycling warehouse, that required up to 40 firefighters to extinguish.

10:37Callum Parke

Vital Earth say fire is "nothing to worry about"

A spokesperson for Vital Earth told Derbyshire Live at around 9:40am that the fire had been extinguished and that it was "nothing to worry about". They said no one was injured.

However, they said they could not comment on the cause of the fire or where it was on the premises, which opened in 2006.

10:29Callum Parke

What we know

Several fire engines and other appliances are in attendance at an incident on the Airfield Industrial Estate in Blenheim Road in Ashbourne.

Crews from Ashbourne, Nottingham Road, Duffield, Belper, Wirksworth, Ascot Drive with the Aerial Ladder Platform and Buxton with the control unit are all in attendance.

The fire is connected to "compostable vegetation", according to a tweet from the Fire Service.

We currently have 6 fire engines dealing with a fire involving compostable vegetation at Ashfield Industrial Estate in #Ashbourne

No further information is currently available.

— Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (@DerbyshireFRS) November 25, 2021

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