UK – Irish corrugated packaging company Smurfit Kappa has resumed some operations at its packaging plant in Neachells in Birmingham, UK, following a major fire outbreak.

The outbreak occurred on 12 June after a large amount of paper and cardboard bales caught fire at a warehouse in the plant.

West Midlands Fire Service said that the incident destroyed about 8,000t of paper and compressed cardboard. The fire service was called to the scene on 12 June at 19:40.

On 12 June, West Midlands Fire Service stated: “At the height of the incident, we had more than 30 fire appliances in attendance – including two aerial hydraulic platforms, multiple fire engines, a high volume water pumping unit, and one of our drones.”

Crews from stations across the West Midlands tackled the fire using main jets. There were no reports of any casualties and the local fire service said that its investigators would aim to identify the causes of the outbreak.

West Midlands Fire Service added: “Excellent progress has been made by crews throughout the night as they continue to work toward bringing this incident to a safe conclusion.”

Smurfit Kappa is yet to comment on the incident. The facility in Birmingham is one of two paper mills the company operates in the UK.

The Birmingham plant is one of two paper mills Smurfit Kappa operates in the UK and it produces 500-700 tonnes of packaging paper every day, which is later converted into cardboard boxes.

The Irish company has the capacity to produce 8.3 million tonnes of paper and board a year globally and handle more than 7 million tonnes of recovered product for recycling.

Packaging companies have faced a surge in demand for their products over the last two years, first due to the boom in e-commerce at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and then from the broader recovery that followed the reopening of economies.

Smurfit said earlier this year that its product range remained effectively sold out in almost all of the 36 countries in which it operates.

Earlier this month, Smurfit Kappa invested US$23.5 million to convert its sheet plant in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, into a fully integrated corrugated plant.

The company has added an advanced corrugator to the plant with the aim to address the fast-growing demand for sustainable packaging in San Antonio, Texas.

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