An oil fire broke out around 12:15 pm in a pit below the metal wire coiling installation in the rolling unit of a steel mill. Fire-figthers were notified and 11 employees evacuated to the designated assembly point. Electrical supply lines were shut off and all storm drain plugs closed. Fire-fighters brought the blaze under control using 4 water and foam hoses, overcoming difficulties in accessing the ignited zone. With a thermal camera, they then sought to detect potential residual hot spots along the ground and on the building roof. The emergency response lasted until 4:30 pm. The amount of property damage was estimated at €500,000. The extinction water was collected in one of the plant’s basins and treated on-site.
Around 11 that morning, the coiling tube had punctured and pieces of wire heated to 600°C fell under the incoming wire conveyor belt rollers. The installation had been taken offline and, following tube repair, restarted at 12:08 pm. This outbreak occurred a few minutes later. According to the mill operator, the oil seeping into the pit, inherent to this process, was ignited by the pieces of broken wire once the installation’s fans were turned back on. The routine to clean this oily flow had not been correctly implemented over the preceding weeks. All installations capable of generating oil seepage were to be cleaned and stripped of oil during the August shutdown. To better manage these various cleaning phases, the operator had included such periodic preventive maintenance measures in its computer-aided management program.