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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 24 July, 2014

Ballymount blaze rated a ‘Category 1′ incident by EPA

The fire at the Oxigen plant in west Dublin is still burning. It could be tomorrow before the all clear is given…

Updated at 7.11pm

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The scene at Ballymount yesterday [Brian Lawless/PA Wire]

THE FIRE AT the Oxigen recycling plant in Ballymount, west Dublin is being rated a ‘Category 1′ incident by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Three units of Dublin Fire Brigade are continuing their efforts to contain the fire today, a day after it was first reported. An incident command unit is also at the scene, coordinating the response effort.

This evening, a Dublin Fire Brigade spokesperson said they are still fighting the fire defensively and anticipate tackling the blaze into tomorrow.

Category 1

A spokesperson for the EPA said the ‘category 1′ rating was an internal classification used for incidents where the agency decided there was a need to make the public aware of an incident:

“It’s used where there’s a fire, or an explosion, something the public should be made aware of — lower categories are used where the incident doesn’t spread from the immediate area.”

Although the smoke is now subsiding, both the EPA and gardaí said the advice to householders in the area remained the same — people in the affected area are being advised to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed.

The EPA spokesperson said that the advice should be heeded in areas where there was a strong smoke smell.

An operator at Dublin Fire Brigade HQ on Townsend Street said the control room had been fielding calls from as far away as Dublin 4 from people concerned about possible toxic fumes.

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[Brian Lawless/PA Wire]

The fire was initially reported at 3.12am yesterday. Householders nearby reported hearing “little explosions” in the early hours of yesterday morning as the blaze spread.

Around 25 fire personnel were at the scene this morning – the firefighters each staying at the ‘frontline’ for four hour periods, in line with normal procedure for high intensity work, before switching with a colleague and continuing their other shift duties.

A Dublin Fire Brigade spokesperson said this morning that they could be at the scene for “several days” although it’s now hoped the all clear can be given at some stage tomorrow.

Once the scene is declared safe, gardaí will enter the site to conduct forensic tests — the results of which will determine whether further investigation is warranted.  The cause of the fire is not yet known.

There are no reports of any injuries.

RTÉ reports that the Oxigen Environmental hopes to relocate as many of its Ballymount staff as possible. Around 60 staff have been affected by the blaze.

- Additional reporting Aoife Barry

Related: Ballymount industrial estate fire could burn for rest of weekend

Read: Orange alert: Coastal flood warning as 130km winds set to sweep country

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