Residents urged to recycle responsibly after discarded batteries cause vehicle fire

Published: 07 Mar 2024

Fire in Bin Lorry

Horsham District Council is urging residents to recycle responsibly following a recent fire caused by batteries in one of its waste collection vehicles.

The waste collection team were able to control the situation with fire extinguishers and return to Hop Oast depot, where the contents of the lorry was emptied. West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service attended the incident to ensure the fire was put out.

The Fire & Rescue crew identified a string of battery-operated lights which had likely been the cause of the fire. This was exacerbated by several other non-recyclable items which may have helped it to spread.

The recycling load, which totalled some 5 tonnes had to be dumped as refuse after being doused to put out the fire.

Cabinet Member for Environmental Health, Recycling and Waste, Cllr Jay Mercer commented:

“We are grateful that no one was hurt, and minimal damage was caused to the lorry on this occasion. This was mainly due to the quick thinking and brave efforts of our crew.

“Discarding batteries with recycling or refuse is particularly problematic as they present a fire risk when damaged. Collection lorries have compaction equipment which can easily crush a battery. Once this occurs, they can ignite and set fire to other collected materials.

“This sort of incident risks the safety of our crews, as well as taking firefighters from other urgent calls. Loose batteries can be easily recycled by placing them in a bag on your bin on collection day, and small electricals can be collected with our free bookable collection service.”

Residents can find full details on our battery disposal service via the Council website and book a small electrical collection via the website too.