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Public health advice concerning fire at recycling facility on Marsh Barton Road in Exeter

Public Health England South West is aware of the fire at Devon Contract Waste on Marsh Barton Road in Exeter and is working with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, the Environment Agency and Exeter City Council to manage the incident.

The fire has been extinguished but is still smouldering, and odour from the fire can be detected some distance from the site. Risk to public health from the smoke and odour is minimal and the majority of Exeter City Council staff at the neighbouring Oakwood House have been relocated to a temporary office as a precaution.

Devon County Council’s Exton Road Recycling Centre is closed to the public today.

A consultant in Public Health from PHE South West said:

“Any smoke can be an irritant and as such, if people need to be outdoors in the area close to the site of the fire, they are advised to avoid outside areas affected by any smoke or ash, or to limit the time that they spend in them.

“Some of the substances present in smoke can irritate the lining of the air passages, the skin and the eyes. Respiratory symptoms include coughing and wheezing, breathlessness, sputum (phlegm) production and chest pain. If symptoms occur, people should seek medical advice or call NHS 111.

“The chemicals in the smoke can worsen existing health problems like asthma. People with asthma should carry their inhaler.”

Reports have been received of ash from the fire settling on nearby allotments. Anyone who grows vegetables in the area should ensure they wash products thoroughly before consuming.

Anyone affected by the smoke or concerned about its impact on their health should call NHS 111.

For more information, please contact PHE South press office on 0117 968 9161.