Don't bin your batteries: Pleas made to households after FIFTH fire is sparked in a month

A bin wagon blaze has led to a plea from council bosses for people not to throw them in the bin after the third fire across the North East in just a month.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 4:53 pm

The recycling truck, operated by Gateshead Council, caught fire on the A1 Western Bypass earlier today, Thursday, April 1, and led to significant delays for traffic, with two lanes close off while the fire was tackled.

Its crew was forced to release the load on the side of the road after smoke was spotted rising from the back of the lorry as it headed between the Metrocentre and Dunston.

The incident, reported at 8.27am and brought to a close at 9.11am, saw Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service send firefighters from West Denton and Swalwell to the scene.

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People have been urged to keep batteries out of their bin and to dispose of them at drop off points after a series of fires in the region.

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The fire has damaged to the internal wiring of the vehicle and it is off the road while it is repaired.

Although the cause has not yet been determined, the incident has renewed concerns about the dangers of batteries and small electrical items thrown into bins.

South Tyneside Council has backed its neighbouring authority’s message by saying: “Can residents please not place any batteries, barbeques, fireworks or vaping units in the waste collections.

“This is a serious safety concern for our crew and those at the recycling plant.”

Last month, a serious fire at Gateshead’s household waste and recycling centre in Wrekenton, which is also used by Sunderland residents, was forced it to close for several days with strong suspicions the fire was caused by battery.

The recent incidents follow on from a fire last August at a Hartlepool recycling plant thought to have been caused by a battery and one inside a Gateshead Council waste lorry in November 2018.

Gateshead Council has said batteries can hold a surprisingly powerful charge and when they thrown into a bin there is a serious risk that they could be damaged and touch something metal and start a fire.

People have been asked to drop used batteries and old mobile phones at recycling points in shops, supermarkets and public buildings, at electrical retailers and other stores or waste centres.

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