Terrified woman's house "pelted with batteries" during massive blaze at recycling plant

Becca Black's house overlooks the charred remains of the battery plant -Credit:Alasdair MacLeod/Ayrshire Post
Becca Black's house overlooks the charred remains of the battery plant -Credit:Alasdair MacLeod/Ayrshire Post

A woman has told how her house was pelted with batteries exploding from a massive inferno at a recycling plant in Kilwinning last week.

Becca Black's garden was finally cleared this morning after safety teams swept the area. It followed the massive blaze at the Fenix site last Monday night. Neighbours were forced to flee during the terrifying late night fire which took days to fully bring under control.

Becca, who lives less than 50 yards from the plant, watched in horror as flames engulfed the site and emergency services raced to the scene. She has told how batteries from the facility began landing on her property in Byrehill Place - with dozens coming to rest in her front and back garden.

The 31-year-old told Ayrshire Live: "The last week has been a nightmare. The night itself was terrifying for everyone in the street - I got a chap on the door from the firemen telling me to grab what I could and just to go. It was a case of just running with what I had as the fire took hold."

Becca was eventually allowed to return to her property as fire crews worked to dampen the smoke last week but ended in hospital suffering side effects. She has since returned but admitted to feeling like a "prisoner in her own home" during recent days.

She said: "It was only this morning that they finally came to clear the batteries away. I'd been told not to go into my garden or touch them because they weren't sure how dangerous they were. I lost count of how many there were out there. There's a young mum living near me and she's still not returned with her wee baby...people are understandably really worried.

"I've felt a bit trapped looking out the window at all these batteries and melted plastic lying in my garden. Obviously it could have been worse and the main thing is nobody was seriously hurt in the fire, but it's been a really scary time for all of us living round here. We've been assured it's safe to return and the area is clear. Hopefully we can get back to normal soon."

Residents reported the area resembling a "war zone" as the blaze took hold with explosions heard up to three miles away. At its peak, six fire appliances and a height vehicle were sent to Byrehill Place to battle the flames with more than 40 firefighters tackling the blaze.

Fenix is the only multi-chemistry based battery recycler in the UK. After opening its first plant in the West Midlands in 2020, the second site in Kilwinning began operations in 2021. The company has said that the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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