Fire crews battle Mayobridge blaze

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Monday, January 16th, 2012
Up to 40 fire-fighters tackled a large blaze in Mayobridge late last night. The fire was at a vehicle scrap yard on the Newry Road, just outside of the village at around 21:50pm. The fire consisted of thousands of tyres and has since been brought under control. While the threat to property and life is gone, Group Commander John Allen said his officers are now focusing on protecting the environment, “Our primary concern now will be to control this fire in such a way that we minimise and mitigate any damage to the environment,” he said. He continued, “We are alongside a river and we are very conscious that fire water run-off has the potential to go into that river and result in a major fish kill. As a result we are modifying our tactics accordingly and we are working in conjunction with the environment agency.” SDLP councillor for South Down Karen McKevitt spoke of her concern, “This blaze is very worrying, firstly because of the detrimental impact it has had on a local business and secondly due to the environmental damage which it has caused. Fortunately, due to the direction of the wind, properties close to the fire have not been affected.” She continued, “Nevertheless the pollution caused has concerned local residents as a substantial number of tyres have been burned releasing toxic fumes into the air and fire water has ran into the river nearby which may kill a large quantity of fish. I have raised my concerns about this pollution with the Environment Minister who has assured me that the Environment Agency will take all necessary steps to limit the damage to our environment. I would like to pay tribute to the fire fighters involved in tackling the inferno, their bravery and determination in the face of danger must never be undervalued.” Fire-fighters may remain at the scene for at least 24 hours. Police have stated that the cause of the fire remains unclear at this time.
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