Huge blaze at Npower’s Tilbury power station

Posted on 27 Feb 2012

Over 120 firefighters are at the scene of a severe blaze at Tilbury power station, Essex, after a fire broke out in the fuel storage area at 07.45 am.

Chief fire officer David Johnson, who is in command of the incident, reported that the fire at the RWE npower-owned plant is in a wood pellet container containing 2,100 tonnes of machinery and conveyance system.

At least two storage cells have been classed as well alight, with others also ablaze in a fire that involves 4,000 tonnes of fuel, calling for 13 fire trucks to be sent to the plant.

Tilbury Power Station, Essex fire.
Fire at Tilbury Power Station, Essex.

Mr Johnson said this was one of the most challenging fires he has had to deal with in his 20-year career because of the technical complexities. Staff at the power station are providing technical assistance and are aiding the fire service.

Johnson commented: “We have had to isolate several high voltage power cables affected by the fire. The fire involves 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes of bio mass high up in the power station building. Crews are faced with extremely difficult access as the fire is in one of the highest points of the building.”

Deputy chief fire officer Adam Eckley said that the fire was now under control during the Essex Fire Brigade’s latest update and said: “The crews are now on top of the fire. Their excellent work in a dark, smoke-filled environment has contained the fire to two of eight hoppers (containers) in the building.”

Fire services at Tilbury power station, Essex
Fire services at Tilbury power station, Essex

Mr Eckley added: “We can now move onto the next phase of the operation which will involve removing all the material from the hopper. That will take five hours to set up and after that, two days to complete.”

There are no reports of any injuries at the plant and the entire workforce has been accounted for.

Eight fire crews were sent to the station following a fire in high pressure turbines during 2009, resulting in about 25% of the plant catching fire.

The plant is scheduled for closure in 2015.