FIRE crews remain at the scene of a massive tyre fire near Selby, with a full inspection of the site expected to start today tomorrow.
The blaze at Newgen Tyre Recycling has been left to burn itself out, six days after it started, engulfing thousands of tyres at the Sherburn-in-Elmet site.
Selby Fire Station Manager Colin Hunter said the fire would continue to burn for several more days, but he hoped an inspection of the site could begin tomorrow.
He said: “We still can’t get near where the origin of fire was, because all the tyres and debris are still well alight and there’s still a lot of thick black smoke coming off, so it’s still difficult to carry out fire investigation at the moment.
“We will be able to make a start on interviewing staff and anyone who was on site to try and get a picture of what happened in the run up to the incident. We will be speaking to employees and staff and any other witnesses who come forward. We will be reviewing CCTV footage and if we can get closer to where the fire started we will start investigating the scene.”
Smoke from the blaze, which started on Thursday, rose to about 5,000 feet and drifted about 25 miles north, with residents in areas of York complaining they could smell the fumes.
Mr Hunter said the blaze - which was visible from space - was the most serious incident he had encountered in his career, and the crews on the scene had managed to save the main building on the site.
He said: “I have been in the fire service for 25 years and this was definitely the biggest fire I have seen anywhere. I have never been to a fire that covered an area as big as this.
Mr Hunter also said methods at the site had changed, after the Environment Agency reported an oily film on nearby waterways which could have been caused by run-off.
He said: “We have stopped using water onsite because of that reason, and the fire has been allowed to burn out under supervision.
Apparently, that’s the only way to secure the safety of the local water courses is to not put water on it and risk run-off.“ Fire crews currently remain at the site monitoring the fire, and Mr Hunter added “I would say it’s safe to assume the fire will still be burning in a few days time”.