BUSINESS owners and residents fear there will be a third fire at a site piled high with tonnes of plastic.

Carole Davis, landlady at The Clifton Arms in Grimshaw Park has spoken out after 70 firefighters tackled a blaze at the plastics site in Paterson Street last week, the second in just over a month.

Residents said they have been complaining for months about the mess and fear it will not be cleared now that Holts Developments Ltd, who owns the company that operates the site, has gone into liquidation.

Environment chiefs have confirmed they are investigating and are working to reduce the fire risk.

Mrs Davis, whose pub backs on to the site, said the rubbish is piled high against the wall right next to her flat and Darwen Bed Centre.

She said: “Everybody has been complaining for months because it attracts rats and flies.

“It has just been left and now we have had two fires in just over a month. It is making us think ‘what if that goes up? It is a potential hazard for everybody.

“As was shown by the fire last week the plastic burns for days.

“It is so dangerous. Nobody knows what is inside it.”

Phil Rostron, who owns Darwen Bed Centre and the outbuildings at the back, said: “I know without a doubt that it is going to go up in flames. It is only a matter of time before someone sets fire to it. It is an accident waiting to happen.

“For the past five years the amount of rubbish has not gone down.

“My business is at risk and it is a real concern.”

Tracey Cassidy, who lives in nearby Mosley Street, said she has been complaining for more than 10 years.

She said: “When it was closed and a security firm came on site we told them it needs moving because of the kids playing around here.

“Who is going to sort it now? Nobody wants anything to do with it.

“We thought they would clear it but the situation seems to be worsening and with every fire it is throwing up toxic fumes. It is going to happen again.”

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said the site was previously operated by V10 Polymers Ltd and owned by Holts Developments Ltd.

She said: “Both of these companies are in liquidation and the permit which allowed the storage and recycling of plastics was revoked in February 2016.

“There is an on-going investigation into the former operator on which we are unable to comment further at this stage.

“Since Holts Development Ltd went into liquidation in August 2017, Environment Agency, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service have been dealing with their liquidators in order to reduce the fire risk posed by plastics remaining on site.

“We have been actively involved in responding to the fire in the building and will continue to work with our partners to look at the future of this site.”

Holt Developments Ltd were unavailable for comment.