Huge Fire in Nechells

Nine thousand tonnes of cardboard has been burning through the night at a paper mill in Birmingham

West Midlands fire crews were called to a large fire at the Smurfit Kappa paper recycling complex in Nechells, Birmingham at 22:12 on Wednesday 17 April.

Some 9,000 tonnes of cardboard bales were well alight, covering seven acres of a 22-acre site.

At the height of the fire they had over 100 firefighters and 28 fire engines working hard to keep the blaze contained to the complex and to protect businesses nearby. (picture courtesy of West Midlands Fire Service)

Everyone on the site at the time was evacuated and accounted for.

Here's a video of someone filming the blaze as they were driving passed it overnight:

Strong winds of up to 40mph have made the operation particularly challenging, with anyone in the local area advised to keep windows and doors closed to keep the ash/smoke out. Though the smoke is not toxic.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but not believed to be suspicious.

A plume of smoke is being blown towards Erdington by strong winds which have also hampered efforts to put out the fire, with people living as far afield as Sutton Coldfield saying they've seen ash coming down with the rain with cars covered in ash.

Nechells Paper Mill fireThe excellent co-ordinated emergency response meant that the passing of a train carrying aviation fuel was delayed until it was safe for it to continue its journey.

65 firefighters remain on site with contractors bringing in machinery to break up the paper bales so they could find and deal with any deep-seated hotspots.

They could be at the scene for another one to two days, with a priority to help businesses reopen as soon as possible.

West Midlands Fire service also thanked partner organisations for a speedy and helpful response which, for example, meant that local roads were closed quickly.

They also thanked people who live, work and travel locally for their patience during these unusual circumstances.