Blaze that burned through a tonne of cardboard was started by disposable vape

A huge blaze at a waste transfer station that took more than three hours to put out is believed to have been started by the battery inside a disposable vape.

Eight fire engine crews and the drone team from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service were called out to Preston Transfer Station at Wallend Road shortly after 11.30am on Saturday, 10 June. The blaze affected around one tonne of cardboard.

This is the latest in a series of blazes that have affected Lancashire's waste centres. A larger fire at Preston Transfer Station in April this year caused around 40 tonnes of recycling products to be lost as they had to be disposed of.

Batteries which have been thrown away in household rubbish bins cause about 700 fires every year, and the Environmental Services Association says these blazes cost fire services and waste operators around £158million each year.

County Councillor Shaun Turner, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change said: "It is vitally important that batteries are disposed of in the right way, as they can cause fires if they are damaged or crushed, leading to potentially deadly consequences.

"Not only do the batteries cause horrifying fires at our waste facilities, potentially putting staff and firefighters at risk, but Lancashire residents also risk house fires and wheelie bin fires at their own residences too.

"The batteries are inside items that you might not realise, and that is what makes them so dangerous. Examples of 'hidden batteries' are those found in disposable vapes, electrical toothbrushes and children's toys, phones and laptops.

"This is the second blaze in just two months. The fires at our centres are not just dangerous, they also result in a loss of materials that were about to be successfully recycled and put a backlog on our services while the mess is cleaned up.

"This fire blazed through a tonne of cardboard – the same weight as a Volkswagen Beetle, so we are talking about vast quantities.

"We are relieved that none of our hardworking staff or any firefighters were injured in this incident and would ask all residents to please find out more about where to properly dispose of all recycling here - Recycling - Lancashire County Council."