Fire investigation reports revealed over Smallford and Potters Crouch blazes

Huge pile of wood at the WRS site on Appsond Lane

Huge pile of wood at the WRS site on Appsond Lane - Credit: Archant

A FIRE investigation report has revealed a cigarette lighter may have started a major fire in Smallford last year.

Police have confirmed they are investigating the blaze which began at Glinwell Nursery in Hatfield Road just before lunchtime on Sunday, November 11, as arson.

The incident wreaked havoc across the district with fumes and a thick plume of black smoke travelling as far as Hatfield.

Hundreds of wooden pallets and plastic containers were ravaged by flames and are noted in the report as “responsible for the spread of the fire”.

A police spokesman said no-one had been arrested in connection with the investigation as yet, but anyone with information should get it touch.


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He added that they believed a person or a group of people entered the site and set alight a large pile of plastic and wooden containers. But the fire service believes rubbish or waste material was set alight first.

n The fire in Appspond Lane, Potters Crouch, which broke out around 12 hours before the Smallford blaze, has been ruled as accidental through spontaneous combustion.

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District commander Ian Markwell said the large wood pile at Wood Recycling Services (WRS) had not been “turned over” regularly which led to it heating up and combusting.

He explained: “If it [the pile] is not turned over fairly regularly, it can combust if it’s not regularly allowed to air.”

The Environment Agency (EA) served WRS several enforcement notices last year to reduce the amount of wood on site but these were not adhered to.

The EA is still investigating the incident.

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