FIRE crews rushed to a blaze at a Hampshire waste centre after a pile of rubbish set alight, sending plumes of smoke into the air visible from almost two miles away.

Teams from Eastleigh, St Mary's, Beaulieu and Redbridge were called to Marchwood Waste Transfer Centre on Bury Road at 8.46am yesterday morning.

A spokesperson from the service said that a large pile of commercial waste was "well-alight" and residents and businesses in the area were asked to keep their windows and doors closed.

Now, calls are being made to make sure there are "full crews" at both Totton and Hythe as the local population is set to grow by thousands.

Daily Echo:

Teams from the local stations - Totton and Hythe - we not called to the incident as they were "unavailable".

Both of these stations rely on on-call firefighters, who are called in from home or work to get to the stations and go out to an incident.

This means that there is not a crew manning the station and rely solely on the on-call staff.

However, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) have said that it was "quicker" to call teams from further afield as according to a system used to measure time and distance between stations and incidents.

A spokesperson from HFRS said that there is "not a shortage" of on-call firefighters, but did tell the Echo that nationally they are always recruiting new on-call staff.

Station manager Steve Buchanan-Lee, from HFRS said: “When mobilising crews from on-call stations the control room team have to factor in the four or five minutes allowed for these firefighters to reach the station.

“On this occasion it was quicker to mobilise the wholetime station which reached this non-emergency incident in about eight minutes.”

But a local councillor has expressed his concern as the local area could possibly gain 1,500 new homes.

Totton councillor Neville Penman said it was a "worry" that Totton and Hythe did not have "full crews" at the stations.

He expressed concerns over the recently submitted plans to redevelop the former Fawley power station, which could provide 1,500 homes and 2,000 new jobs.

Daily Echo:

He said: "I do think the on-calls do a very good job, however with the large new housing development coming to Fawley I do think both Totton and Hythe should have a full crew.

"If you have an on-call crew you should use it.

"I could imagine it worries local residents and I think that it is a worry that we have to rely on crews coming in from Southampton."

Hythe Councillor Malcolm Wade added: "Hythe is very proud of its station.

"We believe that our on-call crew is fantastic and they work very hard.

"However, I do understand that some stations might need more crew and engines."