'Severe' blaze hits Birmingham's Smurfit Kappa paper mill


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The Independent Online

Ten thousand tons of cardboard has been burning through the night in a “severe” fire at a paper mill.

Around 100 firefighters are tackling the blaze, which covers seven acres of bales at the Smurfit Kappa plant in the Nechells area of Birmingham, West Midlands Fire Service said.

The fire started just after 10pm last night and is expected to take a couple of days to burn out, a fire service spokesman said.

People living near the plant, close to the M6 motorway, were urged to stay indoors with windows and doors shut, the material burning is only thought to be cardboard and non-toxic.

The spokesman tweeted: "Fire at Smurfit Kappa is in a very large outdoor storage area. Approx 10,000 tons of recycled cardboard bales are ablaze.

"Fire is contained to storage area, high winds are hampering fire fighting, however crews and other agencies are working extremely hard to bring blaze under control."

West Midlands Police said there had been no reported injuries, but advised people to avoid the area if possible as emergency services will be at the scene throughout the day with a large area cordoned off around the fire.

A police helicopter was at the scene overnight to check for signs of the fire spreading to other parts of the industrial estate the plant sits in.

More than 15 fire crews battled the flames overnight.

The site in Mount Street is a recycled packaging mill, according to the company website.

According to its website Smurfit Kappa is one of the leading producers of paper-based packaging in the world with more than 41,000 employees in 32 countries. It has its headquarters in Dublin.