Mayfield recycling centre fire: thick plume of smoke sent over city

FIREFIGHTERS battled a blaze inside a Mayfield West recycling facility on Thursday night that may have been caused by hot weather.

More than 60 firefighters were called to the scene on McIntosh Drive in the Steel River industrial estate shortly after 8.30pm.

The fire was burning inside the Benedict Recycling centre and sent a thick plume of smoke over Mayfield.

A HAZMAT team arrived at the scene shortly after 9pm.

Fire crews were stationed at various points around the blaze and attacked it from multiple fronts. Visibility was poor in several surrounding streets.

The fire was considered contained on Friday morning.

Police said the site’s main shed sustained “extensive” damage. No one was inside at the time of the fire.

Police have not ruled out suspicious circumstances if only because the cause is still formally under investigation.

However, Benedict Recycling suspected hot weather on Thursday – where temperatures pushed into the high-30s – ignited the fire.

The company said sorry and assured residents the site did not contain toxic material.

“Benedict apologises for any inconvenience the situation may have caused and especially commend the Fire Services for their efforts,” Benedict said in a statement.

“Benedict would also like to add that their business is 'recycling'. The company does not accept hazardous materials, chemicals and dangerous waste … apart from the minor damage to the shed – there was no risk associated with the fire.

“Benedict Recycling expects to resume normal operation later today.”

Benedict said the fire was promptly reported to firefighters and crews were quickly dispatched.

“Thankfully, no staff were on site and the situation was quickly under control,” it said.

The Office of Environment air quality monitoring stations at Wallsend, Newcastle and Beresfield were all recording a “poor” air quality index on Friday morning.