Man arrested following Swansea tyre fire
News sources in Wales have reported the arrest by South Wales Police of a 42-year old man from Swansea in connection with the tyre fire on the Fforestfach industrial estate in the south Wales town, which burned for 22 days in June and July. The Environment Agency said 5,000 tonnes of shredded tyres were being stored on the former Mettoys factory; the arrest strongly suggests the waste was held there illegally.
The tyre waste, a by-product of recycling, is made up of nylon, steel and rubber. After the fire started on 16 June, the smoke caused severe disruption in the area, as local fire services cautioned local residents and businesses about health risks and traffic was diverted. It took three weeks to extinguish, with a multi-agency response involving police, firefighters, the Environment Agency and Swansea Council required.
The Environment Agency stated: “The man was arrested in a joint operation by Environment Agency Wales and South Wales Police following an investigation into the alleged illegal dumping. South Wales Police and Mid and West Wales Fire Service are currently investigating the cause of the fire.”
In order to extinguish the blaze, the fire service used specialist equipment to demolish the factory and remove the materials while still alight. Temporary dams and water tanks set up on site were used to submerge the tyre waste, while the remainder was also removed from the factory. The BBC estimates the cost of disposal at £800,000, though other sources suggest this figure could rise to over £1 million. Fire chiefs described the incident as one of Wales’s most challenging.