Stanton fire ‘could have been arson’

Firefighters tackle the burning pile of wood at Stanton.
Firefighters tackle the burning pile of wood at Stanton.
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Firefighters may never get to the bottom of what caused a huge fire at Stanton, that at the time of going to press, had been burning for four days.

More than 7,000 tonnes of wood, piled up at a recycling plant inside the former ironworks, caught fire on Saturday night sending plumes of smoke towering into the skies – visible from as far away as Belper.

Plumes of smoke carried across the landscape by the wind have been a familiar sight for many this week. Pic by Tony Gidlow.

Plumes of smoke carried across the landscape by the wind have been a familiar sight for many this week. Pic by Tony Gidlow.

At its height, more than 60 firefighters from crews across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire battled the blaze, with a crew from Ilkeston station the first on the scene at 10.30pm.

Station manager, Gary Platts said that arson was a very real possibility.

“There’s been a previous fire locally that we thought was deliberate so I think it’s unlikely this was accidental,” he said.

He added that they might never find out as any evidence for the cause will probably have been destroyed but that police will investigate once the blaze is out.

Neighbours were still being asked to keep windows and doors shut on Wednesday and drivers told to take care on the M1.

Station manager Glenn Butler said they were hoping to have ‘broken its back’ late on Tuesday but the operation has been fraught with problems and Low’s Lane was likely to remain shut for a few more days.

He said the aim was to separate burning wood from non-burning to make it easier to extinguish but maintaining a constant water supply had been a problem with firefighters having to extract water from a nearby pond and the Erewash Canal.