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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Cause of fire thwarts experts
scrap fire
Firefighters were at the scene for seven hours
Investigators have been unable to explain the cause of a big fire which lit up the sky above Bristol.

The fire, at a Sims Metal scrap yard in Gatton Road, St Werburghs, was fuelled by hundreds of burning vehicles.

Five teams of fire-fighters spent seven hours on Monday night bringing outbreak under control.

A team of investigators sifted through the debris in search of evidence on Tuesday, but said it was impossible to say why and how the fire started.

'Close down'

Avon Fire Brigade said the cause would be recorded as unknown.

Some local people are calling for the Sims Metal Yard to be closed down.

Andy Vaughan of Sims Metal UK said the location of the yard was crucial to the transport needs of the metal recycling operation:

smoke by M32
Smoke billowed across the M32

"We've been established here for 30 years.

"It's a prime site for the scrap industry, near the M32," he said

On Monday, smoke and flames from the fire could be seen from as far as the M4 near Bath and the Severn bridges.

Emergency services received 130 calls about it.

Traffic problem

People living nearby were advised to close their doors and windows as smoke billowed across parts of the city.

Geoff Hutchings, of Avon Fire Brigade, said the plume did not pose a problem to traffic, despite being close to the M32.

"Weather conditions took the smoke cloud up and above the road so there were no problems for road or rail traffic," he said.

It is just a few weeks since another serious fire in the same area. Then, 80 ton of rubbish went up in flames.

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