Fire in St Erth blazes into third day

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Media captionCrews battled the blaze at the recycling unit in St Erth

A fire that broke out at a recycling centre has continued to blaze into its third day.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue said the fire at St Erth, near Hayle in Cornwall, started at about 20:15 BST on Monday and more than 70 firefighters were called to fight it.

Ruptured fuel tanks have caused the fire to spread with another bursting on Wednesday morning, firefighters said.

No one has been injured but the yard owners' turtle was killed in the fire.

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Owners Kathy and Mark Bailey said all the usual safety checks were completed the night the fire started.

Image copyright Tolvaddon Station
Image caption Crews have been working at the scene with aerial ladder platforms since the early hours of Wednesday

"We are devastated for our employees who have worked so loyally for us for over 12 years and devastated to have lost not only our livelihood but many personal effects," they said on their Facebook page.

They said these included "our daughter's dear little Turtle 'Alfie' who had become a loved company mascot", as well as items that once belonged to Ms Bailey's late parents, diaries dating back to 1884, photo albums spanning 90 years and a vintage car.

The pair thanked the emergency services and sent their thoughts to the residents of St Erth who "bore the brunt of the smoke".

Fran, a resident who lives in St Erth said her house was "full of awful fumes".

Image copyright Wadebridge CFRS
Image caption The fire is an "ongoing incident", firefighters have said

"I had the most dreadful headache and I'm asthmatic and it's just been really horrible", she said.

Public Health England said people living near to the fire were not likely to suffer any long-term health effects, but residents with asthma and chronic respiratory problems should stay indoors.

There have been no reports of water pollution but soil samples from areas affected by firewater run-off would be collected for inspection, the Environment Agency said.

Great Western Railway said lines through St Erth station would be closed for a second day on Wednesday because the fire had spread.

Image copyright Kathy Bailey
Image caption Alfie the turtle died in the fire

Harry Hodgson, who was on a train which pulled into St Erth station on Monday, said the "huge black smog" could be seen from a mile away.

"It just erupted and basically took a huge building out within minutes and all of a sudden it was just an uncontrollable inferno, a massive blaze", he said.

Mr Hodgson said "the general mood was excitement" because no one had been injured and people were "enjoying the power and the beauty of the fire".

People living in the area have been advised to close windows and remain indoors owing to the large plumes of thick, black smoke.

Image copyright Matt Graham
Image caption St Erth station has been closed due to the fire
Image copyright Paul Stowe
Image caption A diesel and oil tank was caught up in the fire at the recycling centre
Image copyright Sean Ellis
Image caption The blaze appeared to be centred on a stock of vehicle tyres
Image copyright Ellie Angove
Image caption The smoke could be seen for miles as the sun set

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