The huge Dagenham scrapyard fire appears to have heightened tensions between Britain’s fire authorities.

The blaze began on Friday afternoon just before an organised firefighter strike and led to arguments over whether local fire crews should be recalled. 

According to, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) issued a recall notice due to the severity of the blaze, but the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) rejected these calls, suggesting that a recall is only necessary if lives are in danger.

Paul Fuller, president of the Chief Fire Officers Association, slammed the firefighters who chose to stay away from the fire.

Speaking to, he said: “Yesterday I said that I didn’t agree with strike action in the fire service, but last evening, firefighters all over this country exercised their right to do that with professionalism and dignity, which is the same dedication and courage they use in support of our communities every day,”

“What we saw a few firefighters do at Dagenham last night when they walked away from an incident in progress I think was shameful, and they should be ashamed of that.”

The fire began at 15:19 on Friday afternoon, less than three hours before the strike was due to begin. During the strike, four fire engines and contingency crews attempted to tackle the blaze.

Once the strike ended at 23.00, another six fire engines arrived to help. At one point, there were around 125 firefighters at the scene. The blaze eventually died down just before 06.00 the next morning.