Sixteen of these were collection vehicles for rubbish, recycling and garden waste. The other five were used for cleansing and maintenance.
The council has begun the process of clearing the site and planning for waste collections in the Weymouth and Portland areas.
The estimated cost of the damage is still being determined, but the council expects it will be several million pounds. The main building appears to have only suffered minor smoke damage and the waste transfer barn (where collected waste is kept before being sent to recycling or treatment facilities) is undamaged. Dorset Council confirms it is fully insured against fire loss and is actively working with its insurers.
A fire incident investigator has attended the site and CCTV footage of the area has been provided to the authorities. It is a complex investigation and it is unlikely anyone will be able to provide a cause for at least several days.
Dorset Council has already turned its attention to reducing the amount of disruption residents will experience.
Affected residents are free to take their waste to a household recycling centre but are warned that lockdown restrictions are still in place and there may be long queues. The council recommends storing your waste at home if it isn’t presenting a risk to health or injury, and only use a recycling centre if you absolutely must at this time.
Cllr Jill Haynes, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Customer Services and Communities, said, “On behalf of everyone at Dorset Council, I want to thank our colleagues in Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue for their efforts over the last 24 hours – their work to keep everyone safe, contain the fire and prevent further damage has been fantastic.
“Now we begin the process of recovering from this major incident. The loss of so many vehicles will inevitably impact our ability to deal with Weymouth and Portland’s waste over the coming days, but officers are working hard to get alternative plans into place. It’s in no-one’s interests for the collection service to be delayed a moment longer than it must be.
“In the meantime, please bear with us while we get to grips with the challenges this incident presents. We also want to express our gratitude for the messages of support we have received and thank you for your patience and understanding over the next few days.”
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