PHOTOGRAPHS have been released which show the devastating damage caused by a fire which continues to burn in the Taunton Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) four days after it started.
The HWRC in Priorswood, which is run by Biffa on behalf of Somerset Council, will be closed until further notice because of structural damage suffered in the blaze, which broke out in the early hours of Tuesday (October 3).
The photographs, taken on Friday morning (October 6), show the site’s material recovery facility was badly damaged and some small fires persisting.
The facility is where staff sort recycling for sending out to be reprocessed and is on part of the site not usually open to the public,
But it is right next to the public HWRC site and considered structurally unsafe.
Specialist engineers are due to assess it early next week once they can safely enter the building.
The cause of the blaze is still not known and fire crews continued to be in attendance on Friday to monitor the situation.
The weekend is a popular time for visitors and more than 1,200 people would usually use it.
Wellington’s recycling centre in Poole and the one in Bridgwater will open this weekend as usual, and will also open every day next week to provide residents with an alternative if they have waste that has to go.
Residents are urged to stay away from the Priorswood site and heed the road closed signs, because although the gates may be open, it is only to allow access for the fire service.
People living in any areas still affected by smoke have been advised by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to keep windows and doors closed.
Somerset Council has 15 other recycling sites across the county which are managed by Biffa on its behalf and staff from Taunton have been redeployed to provide the extra opening in Wellington and Bridgwater.
Somerset executive Cllr Dixie Darch said: “As you can see, the building is badly damaged and until the site is made safe for the public we just cannot reopen it.
“We apologise for the disruption but hope people can understand the reason for it and make use of alternative sites if they have waste that just cannot wait.”
Firefighters from Wellington, Wiveliscombe, Williton, and Minehead were among 60 crew from all over Somerset called to the Priorswood site to tackle the blaze.