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Thursday, 25 April, 2002, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Center Parcs staff clear up ash
Flames rise from the Center Parcs resort at Elveden
The fire detsroyed the central plaza
Staff from the Suffolk Center Parcs complex which was destroyed by fire have volunteered to clear mountains of ash from a nearby nature reserve.

The fire destroyed the central plaza area of the holiday resort in Elveden on 4 April, and scattered ash over the adjacent heathland, Lakenheath Warren.

Although tests have proved the ash is not toxic, English Nature is concerned that phosphorus could eventually leach into the soil and harm wildlife.

Now Center Parcs staff, who are still waiting to hear whether their jobs are secure, are clearing up the Warren by hand.

Fire at Center Parc holiday resort, Elveden
The fire destroyed the central plaza

Forty people a day have been joining work parties organised by the Elveden site's conservation rangers.

So far, they have put in 3,000 hours work to clear the large flakes of ash from the 500 hectare site of special scientific interest.

A spokesman for the complex said: "Once we had found out that the ash was not poisonous in any form, they began work.

"We've had nursery nurses, waiters and all sorts helping out - it's something different for them to do.

"I think they've enjoyed it."

Staff continue to be paid while the complex is closed.

There is no fixed date for the reopening of the site.

It is thought the fire was caused by contractors working on the roof.

Click here to go to BBC Suffolk
See also:

05 Apr 02 | England
Thousands offered holiday refund
05 Apr 02 | England
Fires still burn at holiday resort
04 Apr 02 | England
Holidaymakers escape resort fire
04 Apr 02 | England
Picture gallery: Center Parcs fire
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