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Woolton Quarries 
A Raging Inferno

That fateful night
In 1986, the scrap tyre dump in Woolton quarry, owned by C W Rubber Export Ltd., caught fire requiring the attendance of several fire appliances from Merseyside Fire Brigade.

In the opinion of the author this has been the second most spectacular fire situated in Woolton, the first, ironically, only yards from the first one – the mill, adjacent to the Mill Stile Foot Path. Due to a north easterly gale in 1898, friction caused the mill to burst into flames, destroying it, never to be replaced.

I was in Woolton the night the tyre dump caught fire. It was early evening and I could hear the klaxon horn of the fire tender, then another, and another! I decided to go out onto the veranda to see what was going on. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I looked toward the direction of the quarry and saw plumes of thick black smoke billowing into the sky, rising from a bright red glow at the base. My vantage point on the 12th floor of Dealcroft high-rise tower block was perfect. Without any hesitation I grabbed my camera and dashed up to Quarry Street...

Trying to get a good position to take a photograph was difficult and it was then that I noticed heads bobbing up and down from behind the wall of the Mill Stile – the perfect place to be I decided!

By now the tyres were blazing furiously and it was possible to feel the intensity of the heat as I peered over the wall of the Mill Stile. The smell of burning rubber became quite acrid as the plumes of thick black smoke billowed northwards towards Church Road, fanned by the wind. At times it was impossible to see the flames because the smoke was so thick...

After nearly two hours there was still no sign of the fire abating and I decided that I’d seen enough. When I got back to Dealcroft I had one last look from the 12th floor from where I could see St. Peter’s Church lit up by the glow of the flames. The blaze, which had started in the early evening, burnt throughout the night and continued to smoulder for another four days...

A report was compiled under the Public Health (Recurring Nuisances) Act, 1969, and presented to the Environmental Health Sub-Committee in 1986. In 1987 a Statutory Notice was served on the liquidators, because C W Rubber Exports Ltd. were in liquidation at the time of the fire. The liquidators requested the City Council to carry out the work in default.

Work commenced in March 1987 and by the end of the month the site was level. A further 63 loads was removed from below ground level during the first week of the following April after which the site was declared clear...

Planning permission had been granted for a road and 53 dwellings on the south quarry site as early as 1984, yet it was to be 1990 before property developers moved in to build the present housing estate. The road into the estate was named The Old Quarry...

Similarly, for the north quarry, a planning application was approved in 1985. The north quarry was finally completed with the construction of 18 flats, which was commenced in 1995 and were finally signed off in 1997. The main road into the estate was named Clay Cross Road, off which are two other roads called Poplar Road and Tolpuddle Road.

 

 

 

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