Massive blaze in east London destroys recycling center

LONDON, ENGLAND (BNO NEWS) -- A fire broke out Sunday at a recycling center in east London, sparking what officials have described as the capital's largest blaze in many years but causing no injuries. It comes just hours before the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games is due to begin.

The fire broke out at around 1:15 p.m. local time at the Hunts Waste recycling center on Chequers Lane in the suburb of Dagenham in east London. At least 40 fire engines and more than 200 firefighters from across the city were called to the blaze, which sent huge plumes of smoke billowing up into the sky.

"We've not seen a fire of this size in London for several years, it's certainly a dramatic end to the Olympics for the London Fire Brigade," said London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson. "That said though, we are still able to attend incidents across the capital and the fire cover we're providing at the Olympic venues has not been affected."

The blaze set the whole of the 50 meter by 100 meter (165 feet by 330 feet) single-story building on fire. "We've got over 200 firefighters from across London working hard under challenging conditions to bring the incident to a close. Fortunately, we've not had any reports of injuries at this stage," Dobson said.

The blaze was declared under control at 5:30 p.m. local time but firefighters are expected to remain at the scene throughout the night to completely extinguish the fire. "Fire crews will remain at the scene for as long as necessary and a thorough investigation will begin once the fire is out to establish how it started," Dobson added.

People at the Olympic Park, which is about eleven kilometers (seven miles) from the scene, reported seeing the thick black smoke during the height of the blaze. The incident came just hours before the start of the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games, which is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. local time.

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