FIREFIGHTERS have been praised after tackling an inferno at a power plant near Pontefract.
Around 50 firefighters used 15 fire engines and three aerial ladder platforms to tackle the blaze at Ferrybridge C Power Station on Thursday.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s deputy chief fire officer, Steve Beckley, said: “I would like to praise our crews for their rapid actions in dealing with the fire safely and effectively. Their knowledge of the site [...] ensured the fire did not spread to surrounding buildings and there were no injuries.
“I must also commend power station management and staff who were incredibly efficient.”
Two fire engines, an aerial appliance and a combined aerial rescue platform were still at the SSE-owned site yesterday.
SSE director of Thermal Operations, Mark Hayward also praised the firefighters. He said: “West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has demonstrated outstanding professionalism.”
An investigation into the cause is currently underway.
Firefighters have been continuing their battle to put out the last of the flames at the massive fire which tore through part of the landmark power station.
The coal-fired Ferrybridge C Power Station has been left partially destroyed after a blaze broke out on the third floor of the building, next to the River Aire in West Yorkshire.
Energy giant SSE, which runs the station, said no one was injured in the blaze, with flames reaching 100ft.
The searing heat caused part of the plant to buckle and sink 30ft.
Firefighters had been working through the night to “dampen down” the last of the flames and burning embers.
Ian Bitcon, area manager of the West Yorkshire Fire Brigade, said last night: “We are at the dampening down stage, so the flames are mainly out but it is not entirely extinguished. We expect there to be crews here right through the night.”
He said it might be a few days before the building can cool off and be safe enough to send investigators in.
He said: “It is a big structure and it has become very unstable because of the fire.
“The company will need to demolish the part of the building affected by the fire, but we are still at the stage where there is enough firefighting that is going on that they cannot start that yet.”
He said SSE was expected to assess the situation and carry out the demolition over the next few days.
Smoke was blowing across the M62 between junctions 32 and 33 on Thursday afternoon, causing slow-moving traffic in both directions. The A1(M) was also affected between junctions 41 and 42.
The site beside the River Aire is operated by the energy giant SSE, and it has run three power stations since 1924. The current one has operated since 1966.
SSE, one of Britain’s ‘Big Six’ energy firms, said the fire triggered their “emergency response procedures” and that the safety of their staff and customers was their top priority.
The National Grid confirmed the fire had no impact on electricity supply as the plant was on summer shut down.
A spokeswoman said: “They were not generating onto the grid so it is not going to affect our operations at all.”
The site has undergone major changes recently in the light of the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive, which aims to reduce pollution, and a 65MW multi-fuel plant was expected to start generating power next year.
SSE said they will launch a full investigation into what sparked the blaze, and that they hope to send specialists into the plant tomorrow morning once the station had cooled to begin their probe.
The fire service said a structural engineer had been “notified” about the incident.
• Pictures: Matthew Merrick Photography and Twitter/Sammy Holmes and Suzanne Palmer