At 9:15 am., a fire broke up during maintenance work in a flammable liquids tank storage installation.
The tank had been taken out of service and was being prepared for internal inspection. A subcontracting firm was supposed to conduct degassing and cleaning operations on 27th January 2001, which extended over the 28/01. On the day of the accident, works started at 7:30 ; at 9:15, fire and smoke were reported coming from the tank storage installation and the fire brigade was alerted by the control room. The fire brigade reached the accident site in 9 minutes, the fire was extinguished by 10:16am. Two employees were severely burnt and taken to hospital and died later from their injuries. Material damage was extensive and amounted to 1 M euros.
The accident investigation shoved that the most probable ignition source was the halogen lamp used inside the tank, as it was not explosion protected and thus incompatible with use in explosive environments.
The plant operator raises the attention of its employees (training on the risks and existing safety rules), reinforces the “risks” specifications in the contracts with subcontractors and improves the information to contractors before the work and controls (including detection of explosive atmospheres). He considers changing cleaning technology.