A firefighter who drove a blazing lorry out of a building has told how he helped stop an explosion in a recycling centre.
Fourteen West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service crews were called to the site in Metcalf Way, County Oak on Friday (May 29).
Firefighters spent hours tackling the blaze using hoses from the top of their fire engines before Kim Taylor, 58, drove the articulated lorry out into the open air.
Firefighters used an aerial ladder platform to put out the blaze, which had started by accident in its trailer.
Mr Taylor, Watch Manager at East Grinstead Fire Station is an ex-lorry driver.
He said he told his commanders: “Let me have a go, what’s the worse that could happen?
“If I can get it out then it’s a game-changer, then you can squirt water properly in the open air and it’s not going to endanger the building.”
Mr Taylor, from Chichester, said there was a risk the truck’s fuel could explode but added: “As far as I was concerned the fire was confined to the back and I had time to drive it out.”
A firefighter guided him out of the smoke-logged building.
Firefighters were in attendance from 4.20pm to 10.47pm.
All of the single storey building the lorry was damaged by smoke and fifth by heat.
Three quarters of the trailer was damaged by fire.
A fire spokesman used 45 sets of breathing apparatus, a triple extension ladder, six hose reels, three fixed hose reels, 60 liters of foam and two extraction fans.
Viridor’s Crawley Waste Transfer Station has reopened. A spokesman said it was investigating the cause of the fire.
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