Plastic refuse heaped at the Brahmapuram solid waste treatment plant of the Kochi Corporation caught fire on Friday, causing hardship to residents of nearby areas.

Thick smoke, billowing out of the burning heaps, made fire-fighting difficult for the nearly 30 rescue personnel.

Firemen had a tough time trying to reach the source of fire as thick fumes emanating from the plastic heaps reduced visibility in the area.

Shortage of water for dousing the flames also affected fire-fighting and the firemen had to collect water from local sources including the river flowing through the area

Incidentally, this is the third major fire that has broken out at the plastic dumping yard of the corporation in as many as four years.

Plastic waste collected from different parts of the city had been piled up at the open yard of the plant for the past two years. The functioning of the plant has not been affected as the refuse was stored some 500 metres away from the yard, said T.K. Ashraf, chairman of the Health Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation.

Fire-fighters, who returned from the site after dousing the fire in the forenoon, had to be called back as fresh fire broke out from the garbage heaps on being churned by an excavator. New fire broke out from the melting refuse after it was churned in the process of controlling the fire. Over 30 men had to fight the flames all through the day to bring it under control, said a fire-fighter.

Fire tenders from Gandhi Nagar, Tripunithura and Thrikkakkara were pressed into action.

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