BBC Local Live: Birmingham and the Black Country on Monday 1 July

    0800: Gavin Bevis BBC Local Live

    Good morning everyone and welcome to today's news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    Get involved by sending your comments and photos to

    Smethwick fire 0802:

    A major fire involving 50,000 tonnes of plastic recycling material and a factory unit in Smethwick has been declared "a major incident".

    Smethwick fire

    About 200 firefighters are at the scene of the blaze at the Jayplas depot in Dartmouth Road, nine of whom have been taking to hospital.

    Video 0811:
    Smethwick fire 0817:

    Thirty-five fire engines were sent to the fire, which broke out at about 23:00 yesterday.

    The blaze sent a plume of smoke 6,000 feet into the air. Birmingham Airport has been alerted, although there is currently no impact on flights

    Smethwick fire 0821:

    Max sent us this photo of his view in Wolverhampton of the smoke plume from the Smethwick fire.

    Smethwick fire

    Share your photos by emailing or tweeting us @bbcwm.

    Smethwick fire 0828:

    BBC WM's Michelle Dawes is reporting from the scene of the fire in Smethwick. Listen live.

    Smethwick fire

    Area commander Steve Vincent tells her: "We haven't evacuated any of the local residents because this is mainly an industrial area, but we have had some minor injuries to some of our firefighters at the scene."

    Smethwick fire 0835:

    Ron Sutton took this photo of the smoke plume from Perry Barr.

    Smethwick fire

    West Midlands Fire Service told BBC WM it expected to be at the scene for several days.

    as it happened
    • News, sport, travel, weather from Mon 1 July
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    Smethwick fire 0841:

    West Midlands Fire Service says Dartmouth Road, Halfords Lane and Brasshouse Lane are closed to traffic and the fire is likely to cause congestion in the area.

    It also urges motorists to avoid J1 of the M5. Read the latest on road closures and disruption here.


    BBC News's Liz Cave says smoke from the Smethwick fire can be seen more than 50 miles away, in places including Coventry and Northamptonshire - and also from Birmingham city centre.

    Smoke over Birmingham
    Smethwick fire 0848:

    More on the firefighters injured tackling the Smethwick blaze.

    West Midlands Ambulance Service says: "Ambulance staff have treated nine patients for injuries received at the scene. Three of these patients were later conveyed to a local hospital as a precautionary measure."

    Smethwick fire 0852:

    Steve Green tweets this view of the smoke from Bescot Station in Walsall.

    Bescot Station view

    Send your photos to


    Area fire commander Steve Vincent says: "We will have major congestion in this area because we will be fighting this fire for the next few days.

    "This is the largest fire that we've had in the West Midlands. It is a major fire and we've got support from surrounding fire brigades to help us deal with this."

    Smethwick fire 0905:

    Smoke from the Smethwick fire bellowed out across Birmingham, as this photo sent to us by Richard Broomhall shows.

    Smethwick fire

    Sheldon Fire Station tweets: Roads seem busy trying to get to #smethwickfire keep away if you can. Preparing ourselves for 12 hours of high volume pumping!

    Smethwick fire 0914:

    Residents close to the fire in Smethwick are being advised to keep their windows shut as crews tackle the blaze. Last night firefighters faced huge flames as they tried to control its spread.

    Smethwick fire
    Smethwick fire 0918:

    Heather Ramsden emails: "Here are a couple of pictures taken from the Cape Hill end of the Bearwood Road at about 8am today. It's about 1.5 miles as the crow flies to the fire.

    Smethwick fire

    "I thought when I first saw it that it was a storm cloud, then I remembered the news item."

    Smethwick fire 0928:

    Darren Hulbert tweets this picture of smoke from the Smethwick fire hovering over Birmingham city centre.

    Smoke over Birmingham

    Send your views of the plume to or tweet us at @bbcwm

    Smethwick fire 0934:

    The fire service has said the operation to put out a huge blaze at a factory in Smethwick could take several days.

    BBC News has a feature on how long different types of fires burn for.


    West Midlands Fire Service's chief fire officer says the Smethwick blaze was caused by Chinese lanterns which flew over and dropped on the plastic, reports BBC Midlands Today's Cath Mackie.

    Smethwick fire 0951:

    The fire service said its control centre had received more than 200 calls about the blaze and urged people to call 999 only if really necessary.

    Smoke drifts across Birmingham
    Chinese lanterns 1000:

    The Smethwick fire has been blamed on a Chinese lantern which fell from the sky on to plastic.

    Hundreds of thousands of these lanterns are released in the UK each year. In 2010, BBC Magazine examined the dangers involved.

    Smethwick fire 1006:

    More on the injuries sustained by firefighters dealing with the blaze in Smethwick.

    West Midlands Fire Service said two were taken to hospital - one with an eye injury and another with an ankle injury - while eight more were treated at the scene for minor heat-related injuries, reports The Press Association.

    live pictures 1014:

    The BBC News Channel has deployed its helicopter to film above the scene of the Smethwick fire. Watch online

    Smethwick fire
    Smethwick fire 1020:

    Jack Awal told BBC WM he saw the fire start from his house two miles away in Handsworth.

    Jack Awal

    He said: "It was like a scene from a movie. There were so many large explosions and loud bangs. It was like a firework display - there were loud crackles and bangs every few seconds."

    Smethwick fire 1028:

    This view from Google Maps shows how much plastic is stored at the depot on Dartmouth Road in Smethwick which caught fire when a Chinese lantern is thought to have dropped on to it last night.

    Plastic at depot
    have your say 1036:

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you news, sport, travel and weather updates in one place. We'd love to know what you think.

    Chinese lanterns 1040:

    A Chinese lantern which dropped from the sky has been blamed by the fire service for starting the blaze in Smethwick.

    Farmers and coastguards have long protested against their use and they were banned from this year's Glastonbury Festival. Do you think they should be banned altogether? Share your views by emailing

    Video: Smethwick fire 1044:

    BBC News has a round-up of remarkable footage of the Smethwick fire, which can be seen up to 50 miles away.

    Smethwick fire footage
    school closed 1047:

    Galton Valley Primary School in Brasshouse Lane, Smethwick, is shut because of the road closures around the huge factory fire.

    Smethwick fire 1057:

    Wayne Little, station commander from Oldbury Fire Station, tweets: Dramatic picture of the incident our crews are dealing with in Smethwick.

    Smethwick fire
    Smethwick fire 1103:

    BBC WM reports forensic officers say they have seen CCTV pictures of a Chinese lantern dropping into the site and starting a fire in plastic bales.

    Crews are still working to put out 100,000 tonnes of paper and plastic which are ablaze.

    Smethwick fire 1119: Michelle Dawes Journalist, BBC WM, at the scene

    I have been told by the fire commander it is a very dangerous and very intense fire to try to tackle.

    What they are trying to do is tackle it from the perimeter and get the fire surrounded before they put it out. Read more.


    West Midlands Fire Service tweets: We'll be broadcasting a live video update from the scene of the #smethwickfire via Twitter, within the hour.

    Smethwick fire 1124:

    Holly Pester tweets this photo of smoke from the Smethwick fire, labelling it "Birmingham apocalypse".

    Birmingham smoke
    Chinese lanterns 1130:

    After fire officers said Chinese lanterns had caused the Smethwick fire, we asked if you thought they should be banned.

    Alec Middleton writes: "A total ban on these potentially dangerous items is long overdue. Not only are they a fire hazard, they are reported to cause potential loss of life to cattle and other farm animals if the wires on the frame of some are ingested."

    Smethwick fire 1138:

    A spokeswoman for Birmingham Airport says the blaze is not affecting flights.

    She said: "Operations are continuing as normal and the fire has had no impact on any of our services."

    aerial footage 1145:

    BBC News has dramatic aerial footage of efforts to put out the depot fire in Smethwick.

    Smethwick fire overhead shot
    Smethwick fire 1150:

    The Birmingham Mail is also tracking the latest developments in the Smethwick fire.

    Birmingham Mail homepage

    On its website, the paper has been posting some of the most dramatic images readers have sent in.

    Smethwick fire 1200:

    The operation to put out the huge blaze at a recycling depot in Smethwick is continuing to cause disruption to roads in the area.

    BBC Travel News has the latest.


    Vij Randeniya, chief fire officer for the West Midlands, told BBC WM: "It is contained. We've done some fantastic firefighting around the back saving warehouses.

    Smethwick fire

    "We've also removed 12 articulated lorries, saved an awful lot of businesses on the perimeter and now we're going to spend the next two or three days putting the thing out."

    fire service broadcast 1219:

    Earlier West Midlands Fire Service broadcast live from the scene of the factory fire explaining some of the challenges they are facing tackling the blaze.

    Some of the burnt plastic
    Smethwick fire 1228:

    Dan Walsh posted this image to Facebook, writing: "View from Clent Hills in Stourbridge."

    Stourbridge view
    Chinese lanterns 1235:

    Should Chinese lanterns be banned, after they were blamed for starting the huge factory fire?

    Jessica Blackburn writes: "My horse managed to ingest part of one after several landed in his field. He ended up having to have 8ft of his intestines removed after they were shredded by the wire. They (lanterns) do have a place but only when they can be thrown away safely afterwards and not released outside."

    Join the debate.

    Smethwick fire 1244:

    Neil Griffiths, from West Midlands Fire Service, tweets: Green watch from @Oldburyfire at #smethwickfire. They have been working in heat and smoke since 2300.

    Resting firefighters
    Smethwick fire 1253:

    BBC WM has an update on the numbers involved in the firefighting effort in Smethwick.

    It reports there are currently 45 fire engines at the scene, with 200 officers working to put out the blaze.

    Coming up 1302: Nick Owen Presenter, Midlands Today

    On BBC One at 13:30, we're live at the scene of what's been described as the biggest fire ever seen in the West Midlands.

    Smethwick fire

    It's at a plastics recycling plant in Smethwick in the Black Country, not far from the West Bromwich Albion football ground.

    Smethwick fire 1311:

    The Express & Star tweets: Here's #Sandwell - Five pages of unrivalled coverage and pictures from #smethwickfire.

    Express & Star
    canal water 1320:

    Water from the nearby canal is being used to tackle the Smethwick factory fire. Area fire commander Steve Vincent tells the BBC that crews are using two high-volume units which can each pump 11,000 litres a minute.

    Smethwick fire 1329:

    Abu Bakr Syddek wrote to us praising fire officers involved in tackling the blaze in Smethwick.

    He said: "I was there for more than two hours yesterday and you could feel the intensity of the heat. However, the fire service have been working incredibly hard all night, therefore they need praising."

    in pictures 1339:

    The intensity of the blaze in Smethwick is highlighted in these pictures put together by BBC News Online.

    Smethwick fire blaze
    Your photos 1345:

    BBC Midlands Today has more than 50 of your photos of the Smethwick fire on its Facebook page.

    Smethwick fire view
    Smethwick fire 1354:

    West Midlands Ambulance Service says 11 firefighters have been treated for minor injuries, including three who were taken to hospital overnight.

    It said problems included heat exhaustion, injuries to eyes and an ankle as well as one minor burn.

    Smethwick fire 1408:

    West Midlands Fire Service has a breakdown of its Smethwick firefighting efforts.

    It said ten other organisations, including the Highways Agency and Severn Trent Water, were involved in the operation.

    Smethwick fire 1420:

    Chief fire officer Vij Randeniya tells BBC Midlands Today the Smethwick fire has caused an estimated £6m worth of damage.

    Smethwick fire

    He said forensic teams had found the blaze started eight minutes after CCTV pictures showed a Chinese lantern landing on a bale of plastic.

    Coming up 1429: Paul Franks Presenter, BBC WM

    I'll be bringing my show from the scene of the fire in Smethwick today. Listen online from 16:00


    West Midlands Fire Service tweets: Jayplas, whose site is at the centre of the Smethwick fire, have praised our "speedy" and "thoroughly professional" response.

    Smethwick fire 1447:

    The Environment Agency has been taking samples from Birmingham Canal where water run-off from the Smethwick fire is ending up.

    Environment Agency work

    BBC News Online reports problems for fish and wildlife caused by pollutants and falling oxygen levels in the water are their main concerns.

    Smethwick fire 1459:

    There is still disruption on several roads in the area as a result of the fire in Smethwick. BBC Travel News has the latest.

    In the papers 1508:

    The Express and Star says tonight's edition will feature five pages devoted to the Smethwick fire.

    Express and Star homepage

    Its website also features news updates, videos from the scene and striking images.

    Smethwick fire 1517:

    Jan Sanders emailed us this photo taken from Birmingham's Beetham Tower at about 09:00.

    Smethwick fire

    Send your images to

    Chinese lanterns 1527:

    We've had a number of responses after fire officers said the Smethwick fire was started by a Chinese lantern dropping from the sky.

    Patricia Neate writes: "Two years ago I was given a Chinese lantern as a gift, which I discarded. I could see the potential danger it would have caused. They should be banned."

    Chinese lanterns 1537:

    Keep Britain Tidy's chief executive Phil Barton has issued a statement after news the Smethwick fire was caused by a Chinese lantern.

    He says: "It is clear these lanterns are dangerous when released into the sky and we would urge people to think about this when they are planning an outdoor event.

    "We have previously raised the danger they can pose to animals and marine life, but this incident unfortunately demonstrates the even greater consequences their use can have."

    Smethwick fire 1544:

    Kamran Rashid, who runs a corner shop in Smethwick, told BBC WM the fire had affected his trade.

    He said: "It's very bad. All this smoke. It's all black all over the area. By this time on a Monday we'd normally have a lot of customers. We don't know what we're going to do."

    Smethwick fire 1558: Michelle Dawes Journalist, BBC WM

    As the Smethwick fire continues to rage, crews are bringing in industrial diggers to break up plastic.

    Smethwick fire clear-up
    Car park stabbing 1605:

    A woman is in a life-threatening condition after being stabbed several times in a car park in Birmingham.

    Police say they are now searching for a man who stabbed the woman near Pershore Road, Stirchley, before driving away in a silver-coloured car.


    Police said the woman, believed to be in her 30s, was attacked by a man just before 14:00.

    It is thought the man is known to the victim. Officers have appealed for witnesses.

    Chinese lanterns 1612:

    Ruth Stanton has emailed us about Chinese lanterns.

    She writes: "The fire in Smethwick could result in a good outcome if it highlights how dangerous these are in towns as well as the countryside and leads to a ban on their sale in this country."

    on air 1622: Paul Franks Presenter, BBC WM

    Our programme is coming live from the scene of the Smethwick fire. Listen live.

    Chinese lanterns 1626:

    There have been calls for Chinese lanterns to be banned after they were blamed for causing the huge fire in Smethwick.

    Chinese lanterns

    BBC News Magazine looks at five of the biggest problems caused by their use.

    Chinese lanterns 1633:

    Should Chinese lanterns be outlawed in the UK following the fire in Smethwick?

    Patrick Anderson tweets: One fire possibly caused by Chinese lantern so knee jerk is ban them. Why not ban cigs which kill far more people by smoke or fire?

    Car park stabbing 1635:

    More on the woman who was stabbed several times in a car park in Stirchley this afternoon.

    Police said the woman was attacked by a man in the car park shared by 1st Bowl and Fitness First shortly before 14:00.

    A spokesman said: "If anyone knows of the whereabouts of the man they are advised not to approach him and to call 999."

    Smethwick fire 1641:

    The depot involved in the Smethwick blaze belongs to recycling company Jayplas.

    On its website, the Leicester-based firm says it has been in business since 1975 and is now the UK's largest plastic recycler.

    Smethwick fire 1650:

    Another dramatic photo, taken by West Midlands Fire Service as it fought to control the Smethwick fire late last night.

    Smethwick fire

    The service says it expects to be dealing with the blaze for the next few days.

    Roads latest 1654:

    Several roads are still closed following the Smethwick fire. Get the latest travel information here.

    Smethwick fire 1700:

    Tests are taking place at watercourses near the Smethwick blaze over fears water run-off from the firefighting operation could hurt fish and wildlife.

    Dead fish in Bilston

    The Canal & River Trust wants to avoid a repeat of a fire in Bilston in 2011 which killed thousands of fish.

    Smethwick fire 1706:

    Jayplas, the owner of the fire-hit recycling depot in Smethwick, issues a statement thanking the emergency services for their reaction to the blaze.

    It adds: "We would like to apologise to all of our neighbours for any disruption caused by this incident and hope to see things get back to normal as quickly as possible."

    M6 toll 1707:

    About 450 haulage firms are starting a trial scheme to enable them to use the M6 Toll road for free for a month.

    The toll's operators agreed to let members of the Road Haulage Association access the route without charge throughout July to showcase the benefits of using it.

    Smethwick fire 1716:

    More from recycling firm Jayplas on the fire at its Smethwick depot:

    "Jayplas will do everything we can to assist the emergency services and the Environment Agency to ensure the site and surrounding areas are made safe and cleaned up as quickly as possible with minimum impact to the local environment."

    Smethwick fire 1725:

    Perry Barr Fire Station tweets: Our fire engine is just back from 15hrs at the Smethwick fire. Needs a good clean!

    Chinese lanterns 1729:

    West Midlands Fire Service says it is calling for an urgent review of the law regarding the use of Chinese lanterns.

    Smethwick fire

    It said in a statement: "There is evidence of them causing fires, wasting emergency services' time, being mistaken for distress flares, misleading pilots and causing environmental damage."

    Smethwick fire 1731:

    Grazvydas Zilionis uploaded a YouTube clip of smoke billowing out from the Jayplas depot in Smethwick early this morning.

    YouTube video

    Share your photos, videos and comments by emailing

    Chinese lanterns 1735:

    More from West Midlands Fire Service on its call for an urgent review into the use of Chinese lanterns.

    Smethwick fire

    Its statement said: "The risk of further fires can only increase as the lanterns become more popular.

    "We do not support the use of these devices, and ask that members of the public and event organisers stop using them."

    hs2 1746:

    The timetable for completing the HS2 railway is "complete madness", the head of a Commons committee has warned.

    Labour's Margaret Hodge said Parliament would not pass plans by 2015 as there were too many grievances and this would delay completion of the first stage from London to Birmingham beyond 2026.

    Coming up 1749: Nick Owen Presenter, Midlands Today

    Tonight's programme will be coming live from Smethwick at 18:30 on BBC One as the fire service continues to deal with the biggest blaze they have ever seen.

    Firefighting in Smethwick
    1800: Gavin Bevis BBC Local Live

    Thanks for following our updates today - especially those of you who contributed with comments and pictures.

    We'll have more on the Smethwick fire and all the other big stories in our area from 08:00 tomorrow.


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