A PUTRID smell hangs over Southampton’s waterside this morning in the aftermath of a massive fire at the city’s docks.

And the embers are expected to be smouldering until the end of the week.

Daily Echo: A A tug sends a spray of water over the smouldering woodchip

The blaze broke out in a woodchip pile in King George V Graving Dock at 6pm last night.

The 20ft flames and thick clouds of billowing smoke could be seen as far away as Shirley Towers while high winds drove a fetid stink wafting towards communities near the docks.

Teams from Solent Stevedores and Associated British Ports fought the flames with water jets launched from tugs before using a huge crane with a clam grab and around four excavators to separate the wood chips to disperse the heat.

Daily Echo:

A crew of six firefighters from Redbridge fire station were on standby while ABP teams worked.

They intermittently put out burning debris blown towards a nearby scrap pile by the high winds.

The firefighters were replaced by a crew from St Mary’s station who are helping with the damping down the smouldering pile until 8am this morning.

No-one was injured and the blaze was contained to the 100m x 150m pile which is owned and managed by Eco Sustainable Solutions Limited.

Waterhouse Lane resident Mark Week said: "I have smelled it since about 9pm and I just drove down here and it was on fire.

"I haven't seen a fire like that before."

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman told the Daily Echo that there were no reports of injuries and no risk to the public.

He said: "We have got a lot of people ringing in but there's nothing for us to do.

"It's a wood chip fire and it just stinks."

Daily Echo:

Ian Jacobs, managing director of Solent Stevedores, put the fire down to suspected self-combustion.

He said “The affected site is self-contained with isolated drainage and local fire protection systems in place.

“There are no known harmful or noxious substances contained in the affected product.”

Daily Echo: Damping down the fire this morning

A spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue said a fire officer was due to visit the scene this afternoon and that the fire was likely to remain smouldering for at least a couple of days.

The affected area is part of a larger site governed by an Environment Agency permit held by Solent Stevedores.