FAMILIES and businesses in Westbury were urged to keep their windows closed and not go outside this morning after a fire at a chemical recycling and disposal business filled the air with toxic smoke.

Firefighters were called to Absolute Solvents in Brook Lane at 9.28am and six fire engines were mobilised from Westbury, Trowbridge, Frome, Melksham and two from Warminster.

They were supported by the heavy rescue unit from Trowbridge, a water carrier from Wilton and an incident command vehicle from Devizes.

John Brock, who works at Van Monster in Brook Lane, said: "The smoke came right over us so we shut our windows, but we didn't get a call from police or the fire service.

"In fact, I've only just found out that the fire came from a chemical plant, which is a bit worrying."

The fire has been contained within a processing building, and has affected four 200 litre chemical drums. 

The fire started via self-combustion, due to a reaction of chemicals within the drums during a process to separate out recyclable material.

As at 1pm, the Fire and Rescue Service was reducing its attendance on site to three crews, to continue cooling the affected drums until such time as the chemical reaction stops and the risk of fire is removed.

Six personnel from Absolute Solvents received precautionary medical attention from South Western Ambulance Service on site but did not require any treatment.

The service is also working with Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Council, South Western Ambulance Service, Public Health England and the Environment Agency to ensure that there is no risk to the public.

Brook Lane and Stephenson Road have now been reopened but the fire service expects to remain on scene for some time.

Anyone concerned that they may have been affected by the smoke plume should call NHS 111 or seek other medical advice.