‘The explosions are scary’ - Locals near Tipton scrap yard fire tell of horror of blaze and smoke

Roads remain closed this evening (Wednesday, October 11) as a fire at a Tipton scrap yard continues
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Explosions were heard in Tipton and Wednesbury as a scrap yard containing 1,000 tons of metal went up in smoke this morning (Wednesday, October 11).

West Midlands Fire Service were called to Enablelink Ltd building on George Henry Road, Tipton, at around 6.15am. Smoke could be seen from miles away with people in the area advised to keep their doors and windows shut to keep safe. Three main roads were also closed:

  • A461 Great Western Way eastbound New Road to Black Country New Road
  • A41 Black Country New Road both ways between Navigation Roundabout and Parkway Roundabout
  • George Henry Road
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Nearby Harvills Hawthorn Primary School in Wednesbury also shut, along with a number of businesses in the area. Paramedics searched the area but no patients were found and ambulance crews were stood down.

Residents have described the dramatic scenes to reporters at the Express and Star. Tylah Colby, from Tipton, said: "It’s horrible, look at it, it’s hellish. It really is like something out of a movie. I’ve never seen anything like this before. The smoke was completely covering the sky above the fire at one point. It’s crazy."

Jane Turner, a warehouse assistant from Wednesbury, said: "It’s a bit warm when you stand too close, it was hurting my face. I had to move away. I hope the firefighters and workers are okay, it can’t be comfortable for them at all."

Tipton scrap yard fireTipton scrap yard fire
Tipton scrap yard fire

Caitlin Hill and Demi Martin, two nurses from Wednesbury, said the whole street was covered. Ms Hill added: "We woke up to the smoke, it was horrible. It was covering the whole street, it is huge. The explosions are really scary too."

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Lara Collins, who lives in Tipton, described waking up to the smoke, she said: "We originally saw the flames at around 6am but we didn’t think anything of it. When we left the house this morning, it was like complete fog, you couldn’t see halfway down the street because of the smoke."

Drivers caught in traffic as roads are closed

Emergency services continue to work together to battle the blaze, with police blocking roads and managing traffic flow to divert drivers from the worst-hit areas.

Darren Chambers, a HGV driver from Dudley was stuck in traffic, he told the Express and Star: "I’ve been stuck in the traffic for about 20 minutes now, we are getting turned around up there but there’s nowhere else I can really go. I mean you can really see the smoke from where we are, it’s got to be a big fire really."

Explosions at the scene

Back at the scene explosions could be heard coming from the blaze – with some residents even leaving the scene out of fear. Martin Spencer, from Tipton, said: "There have been what sounds like some pretty big explosions. There is a huge blue picker in there, it might have fuel in it, we don’t really know, you don’t want to be near it when that goes up."

Tipton scrap yard fireTipton scrap yard fire
Tipton scrap yard fire

School and business closures

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Harvills Hawthorns Primary School, on Wolseley Road, West Bromwich, was among the buildings affected as a result of the blaze, with the school sending home all students due to the smoke.

Also closed affected was Speedy Services, on George Henry Road, where staff members were left unsure whether they were closing for the day. One staff member, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "We have just been left out here for now. We don’t really know what is going on. No cars can get down here so we can’t really trade, but we will have to see what is going to happen."

Latest update from WMFS

Emergency services continue to battle the blaze, with West Midlands Fire Service advising residents to continue closing their doors and windows to avoid the worst of the smoke.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Fire Service said: "Firefighters continue to use two hydraulic aerial platforms and jets at the scene. Eight fire engines are currently in attendance. On-site equipment is being used by staff, working with our crews, to move material and to prevent fire spread. Water from a nearby canal is being used for firefighting.

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"One of our drones has been flying throughout the morning to assist decision-making on the ground. Harvills Hawthorn Primary School has closed as a precaution because of the smoke. We continue to ask members of the public to keep windows and doors shut if you live or work in the area affected by the smoke plume."

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