The fire occurred at Clatterbridge Household Waste Recycling Centre on the Wirral. During the process of putting the fire out a number of bottles of chemicals were discovered including sodium cyanide and formic acid.
These items were contained in a black bin bag and had been deposited in the container by an unknown member of the public. These chemicals are hazardous and can present a very serious risk to site staff and members of the public.
Carl Beer, MRWA Chief Executive, said: “Fortunately the fire was small and easily dealt with. However, this could have been much more serious and could have been avoided in the first place if simple guidelines had been followed.
“Great care has to be taken with hazardous chemicals of all kinds and you cannot simply dispose of them in skips at household waste recycling centres. Such chemicals can be highly toxic and very harmful.
“We urge anyone seeking to dispose of chemicals of any kind to get in touch by calling MRWA on 0151 255 1444 so we can arrange the correct disposal method for that chemical and avoid incidents of this kind in the future.
“We also ask anyone who sees chemicals being disposed of in skips at our HWRCs to alert a member of staff immediately.”