Pollution
Humain
Environnement
Economique

A fire broke out in the handling tower of a 19,000 m³ grain silo, at the bottom of the downward leg of an elevator and spread to the upward leg. The tower had a metal frame and sidings made from fibre cement panels and plexiglas lighting panels, and it was in the process of being modernised by an external company. Equipped with plastic buckets and with no self-extinguishing strap, the elevator involved had been shut down for 2 months. After discovering the fire, the external employees stopped all of the silo’s equipment using an emergency stop button and fought the fire in vain using a fire extinguisher. The team then opened the elevator’s inspection hatch and assisted by the site’s employees, put out the fire with water. The burned strap was removed through a break created in the leg. The damaged elevator remained shut down for several weeks. The day before the accident, grinding work was carried out on an under pit Redler (line conveyor) connected to the elevator via chutes; an incandescent element therefore would have come into contact with the downward leg where grain residues had accumulated. On the day of the fire, the operator restarted part of the handling equipment not affected by the work in progress; starting up the suction system would therefore have fanned the smouldering fire. The group improved the preventive and protective measures to be planned during work for all of its sites.