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About 50 per cent of the recycling unit at BCR Global Textiles, Greets Green Road, West Bromwich ,was destroyed.
Crews were called at about 2am yesterday. Ten crews fought the fire for hours as West Midlands Police helicopter was also called on for support at about 3.30am. By late morning about 20 firefighters remained, one using a high-powered hose on flames inside the unit main shed.
The remnants of what appeared to be a burnt out forklift truck could be seen, along with stacks of rubble.
Unwanted clothes, shoes and textiles are collected and sorted for re-use by the company .
Re-usable textiles and shoes are then sorted and sent abroad for people in need.
Operations commander Carl Shaffrey said: “Our focus is on protecting the businesses and the economic well-being of Sandwell.
“Due to the nature of the textiles involved and the partial collapse of the roof, firefighters will be working on site to fully extinguish the fire for much of the day.”
Mr Shaffrey added that, thanks to “aggressive fire fighting” fire fighters had managed to save a nearby chemical processing plant, however.
The cause of the fire is not known but Mr Shaffrey said that investigators would be at the scene this morning.
People living nearby told of being woken by the sound of fire engines during the night.
Maureen Levy, aged 52, of Whitegreave Street, said: “It was the sirens that woke me up.
“There were so many of them.
“We came outside to see what was going on.
“Even this morning you still can’t hardly see the chimney behind.”
Another resident, Sheila Hardys said: “The roof was covered in flames and there was lots of smoke.
“It was quite a sight.
“I’ve not seen anything like that around here before.
“I think the firemen have been here all night.”
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