At around 8.10am on Tuesday 18th August, a large, oily-black plume of smoke was seen arising from the Hexthorpe vicinity of Doncaster. Further investigations from the RRT Team Leader revealed that a bio-diesel industrial unit had become engulfed in flames which had quickly spread to adjoining premises. The severity of the incident was promptly escalated when it became apparent that the railway line directly behind the units was also in danger and consequently, all services were immediately suspended. Furthermore, chemicals and other hazardous substances were discovered, resulting in nearby premises being evacuated and local residents being urged to keep doors and windows closed.
RRT members were alerted and at around 11.30am, received confirmation that assistance in providing refreshments for around 50 emergency personnel was required. Equipment, including generators, gazebos and catering kit were quickly mobilised and prepared for transportation to the scene. After having located the incident commander, members of the RRT began preparing a refreshment station whilst also contacting local supermarkets to procure food and essentials – a fantastic contribution was received from the stores, a vast proportion of which was donated.
As the 2pm update was given from the Command Support Unit, it became apparent that the blaze was now under control but the RRT were informed that crews would remain on site throughout the night and into Wednesday morning. Eight fire tenders, 2 aerial platforms and an operational support unit from 7 stations across South Yorkshire were now at the scene and the RRT were faced with a continuous flow of emergency workers as crews were rotated and reallocated throughout the site.
At around 9pm, the incident commander informed the RRT that the plan was to reduce the number of engines through the night and after having served a final round of refreshments, the team began to withdraw from the site just after 10pm. Approximately 150 bottles of water were distributed by the RRT as well as hot drinks, sandwiches and snacks. South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue expressed their gratitude for the services provided by the RRT and have welcomed them to discuss opportunities of working together more in the future.