THE cause of a major fire at a waste plant is not believed to be suspicious and is most likely 'a fault', according to firefighters.

Video courtesy Nathan MCR Live via Manchester 360 YouTube channel 

The blaze broke out at the Viridor thermal recovery facility in Raikes Lane on Sunday afternoon, sending plumes of smoke and flames into the air that could be seen for miles around.

Three floors of the building were alight and eight fire engines rushed to the scene at around 4.50pm with around 40 firefighters.

UPDATED WITH VIDEOS/PICTURES: Major fire at Raikes Lane 

Firefighters managed to get the blaze under control in just over an hour, leaving one crew to dampen down the building to prevent reignition.

Investigators will be carrying out assessments at the scene throughout the day but Bolton Central watch manager Ian Ainsworth said it did not look suspicious.

He said: "It is pretty much under control, which is the result of good early action.

"We have just got one fire engine there, they have been there overnight as a precaution, and there will be assessments this morning.

"The cause is not going to be suspicious, it is going to be a fault."

But he added investigators had not yet identified the exact cause.

A spokesman for Viridor said: “Viridor staff at the Bolton Thermal Recovery Facility at Raikes Lane discovered a fire at the site at approximately 4.30pm today and alerted the fire service.

"Emergency procedures at the plant, which is manned 24 hours a day seven days a week, were implemented and the fire was extinguished two hours later. No one was injured.

"The Environment Agency has been notified, the cause of the fire will be investigated and the extent of the damage will be assessed. The fire did not affect the recycling centre at Hurstwood Court."

The fire comes less than two weeks before the company's contract with the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) is due to end.

It was announced in August that the authority had unanimously agreed to terminate the contract on September 29.

A statement from GMWDA said savings identified could not be carried forward with its current contract with Viridor Laing (Greater Manchester).

A spokesman said: "While a range of efficiency savings options have been explored in partnership with VLGM and their sub-contractor Viridor, constraints within the new EU Procurement Regulations (2014) have meant that the savings identified cannot be taken forward through the existing contractual arrangements.

"While this decision has not been taken lightly, GMWDA will work closely with all stakeholders to provide updates as quickly as possible.

"With the support of Viridor, interim arrangements have been agreed to enable GMWDA to continue to provide recycling and waste processing and treatment while GMWDA procures new recycling and waste services."