A fire started inside a bin lorry in Blackburn after what was believed to be a lithium battery was set alight.

The refuse team were put in a tricky situation on what should have been a regular waste collection round in Duttons Way on Friday, March 8.

After emptying a large commercial waste container into their vehicle, the team noticed it unexpectedly began to smoulder and, upon further inspection, found a small fire had started inside the vehicle.

Lancashire Telegraph: Gareth Lynch, Matt Bird, and Rob DayeGareth Lynch, Matt Bird, and Rob Daye (Image: Blackburn with Darwen Council)

The truck, worth £230,000, was at risk of being written off but the team, consisting of refuse collectors Matt Bird and Rob Daye, sprung into action and used a fire extinguisher from the vehicle to suppress it.

Following advice from manager Gareth Lynch, the load was taken to a Suez waste management site where it was arranged for the vehicle to be tipped out in a safe location.

Once the load was on the ground it fully ignited but was swiftly put under control.

Councillor Jim Smith, executive member for environment at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “Thanks to the team’s quick response they managed to save the fleet vehicle from serious damage.

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“It’s not a situation anyone foresees being involved in, however the three dealt with it in a very professional manner.

“A big thank you must go to Matt, Rob, and Gareth for acting so quickly and efficiently, and also to Suez for helping to resolve the situation.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Cllr Jim Smith has thanked the workers for their swift actionCllr Jim Smith has thanked the workers for their swift action (Image: Archive)

The vehicle has been thoroughly checked and has been declared safe to be put back into action.

The council said it believes a lithium battery may have caused the fire, which is the type of battery used in vapes.

It has reminded people to leave small electrical items, including batteries and vapes, in a carrier bag next to their blue or grey recycling bin on collection day, or find their nearest battery drop-off recycling point.

Vapes can also be disposed of through take-back schemes with the retailer.