In a battery and storage cell recycling centre, a fire broke out in a compartment containing used lithium batteries.The automatic powder-based extinguishing system was unable to contain the fire which spread to other cells used to store different types of batteries (lead, mercury, nickel-cadmium) and miscellaneous subproducts (scrap metal, nickel hydroxide). Employees from nearby companies were evacuated and examined owing to the toxic
fumes released (sulphuric acid and lithium hydroxide). The 1,000 m² building was destroyed and batteries were thrown 200 m from the accident. The potential projectile effect due to fire in the lithium battery storage area had not been taken into account in the operator’s hazard study. The extinguishing water was pumped and disposed of as hazardous waste (heavy metals, phenols and PCBs were detected).