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Rainham fire: Waste blaze finally brought under control after burning for five days, 20 hours and 39 minutes

PUBLISHED: 10:45 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:51 11 July 2019

Diggers will be used today to help turn over piles of waste and assist fire crews with reaching the deep seated pockets of fire in Launders Lane, Rainham. Picture: @LondonFire

Diggers will be used today to help turn over piles of waste and assist fire crews with reaching the deep seated pockets of fire in Launders Lane, Rainham. Picture: @LondonFire

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The London Fire Brigade has confirmed firefighters tackling the grass blaze in Rainham have finally brought the fire under control this morning.

Diggers will be used today to help turn over piles of waste and assist fire crews with reaching the deep seated pockets of fire in Launders Lane, Rainham. Picture: @LondonFireDiggers will be used today to help turn over piles of waste and assist fire crews with reaching the deep seated pockets of fire in Launders Lane, Rainham. Picture: @LondonFire

A spokeswoman confirmed the last flames were tackled by fire crews at 9.57am - four fire crews will remain onsite for the rest of today dampening down the entire area.

The fire, which started at 1.18pm on Friday, had burned for a total of five days, 20 hours and 39 minutes.

It is believed to have broken out on a field in Launders Lane before spreading to a pile of mixed waste.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) on Monday issued a warning to nearby residents, urging them to keep doors and windows closed while the fire continued to burn. Diggers were also brought in to try and help the emergency services access

Diggers will be used today to help turn over piles of waste and assist fire crews with reaching the deep seated pockets of fire in Launders Lane, Rainham. Picture: @LondonFireDiggers will be used today to help turn over piles of waste and assist fire crews with reaching the deep seated pockets of fire in Launders Lane, Rainham. Picture: @LondonFire

On Tuesday evening a large plume of black smoke could still be seen for miles as the flames once again flared up.

The Recorder understands by this point the blaze had spread to waste underground, which meant firefighters were not able to reach the deepest pockets of the fire.

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas praised the "fantastic" work of the fire service in tackling the blaze "in tough conditions".

Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters were involved at the height of the blaze and columns of thick dark grey and white smoke could be seen from as far away as neighbouring boroughs throughout the weekend.

Diggers will be used today to help turn over piles of waste and assist fire crews with reaching the deep seated pockets of fire in Launders Lane, Rainham. Picture: @LondonFireDiggers will be used today to help turn over piles of waste and assist fire crews with reaching the deep seated pockets of fire in Launders Lane, Rainham. Picture: @LondonFire

At its height, approximately two hectares of grass and a pile of mixed waste were alight.

The fire brigade took 15 calls about the incident.

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: "Crews made good progress however because of the quantity of waste on the site, deep seated pockets of fire remained under the waste throughout the week.

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"Diggers were used to help turn over the waste to allow fire crews better to access the remaining pockets of fire.

"This process meant that there was a lot of visible smoke coming from the fire so residents living nearby were advised to continue to keep their doors and windows closed as a precaution."

Flames were still burning in Rainham on Wednesday night, when Havering Council held a full council meeting at Town Hall in Romford.

Rainham and Wennington councillor Jeff Tucker called for an urgent motion to discuss the fire.

He said: "People are suffering from headaches, eye irritation and sore throats.

"The previous operator of the land was jailed.

"What is the council's anticipation for this site?

"What precaution has the fire brigade been taking for their own safety and should residents be taking similar precautions?"

Mayor of Havering, councillor Michael Deon Burton, who is himself a ward councillor for South Hornchurch, responded: "I like many other councillors have been monitoring this incident closely.

"There has been continued safety monitoring of the site by not just officers but also by the London Fire Brigade.

"No health concerns have been raised other than the standard advice that people living nearby should close their windows and people driving nearby should also close their windows.

"Any one suffering from asthma or similar conditions should seek medical advice if their conditions worsen.

"It is anticipated that the London Fire Brigade will be at the site until Friday.

"Efforts to locate the land owner responsible for this site are led by the Environment Agency enforcement team and are continuing."

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