A CONTROVERSIAL waste recycling plant has been branded “a danger” after overheating rubbish sparked a blaze.

Ten tonnes of rotting waste burned for hours overnight after overheating and igniting at Armstrongs Environmental in Chorley New Road, Horwich.

Three fire engines attended the incident and firefighters remained on the scene throughout the night, following the outbreak of the fire at about 8.45pm on Wednesday.

Two years ago, a huge fire at the site caused six days of disruption across Horwich.

Last night, Horwich Cllr Stephen Rock said: “It is worrying because there are a lot of houses nearby.

“It is worrying what effect it has on residents. It is a danger to property and lives.”

A fire crew was still at the scene yesterday morning.

Fire investigators said the blaze inside a storage unit was due to natural waste rotting and heating up, causing it to ignite.

Police were initially notified of the incident at Armstrongs but later confirmed the fire was not malicious.

A Fire Service spokesman said: “We were called to the unit at 8.47pm to reports of smoke.

“We attended and it was originally thought to be deliberate ignition.

“However, the unit stores a lot of waste intended for landfill and as such, because it all piles up and rots, it heats up and gives off smoke.

“The owner was in attendance to confirm it was due to the waste naturally heating up.”

The latest incident follows a large blaze at recycling firm J Dickinson and Sons in Blackrod last week.

Firefighters remained on the scene there for three days.

A large warehouse was extensively damaged in the incident, along with a huge quantity of waste that was due to be recycled.

Cllr Rock said: “There seems to be a lot of fires at companies in the Horwich area.

“The fire at Dickinsons was huge and that was quite near to houses, too, and then there was the former Squirrel pub that went up last week.”

Armstrongs declined to comment.