At about 8 p.m., a tractor caught fire in an agricultural shed containing a stock of fodder, farm equipment and 5 tons of solid fertilizer. A 500 kg big-bag containing a mixture of phosphoric anhydride and potassium oxide and seven 600 kg big-bags of 60% potassium oxide were stored directly on the ground. The operator alerted the fire brigade. In the absence of ammonium nitrate, fertilizer storage does not present, at first glance, a risk of explosion, but firefighters feared toxic degassing due to the heat and the release of phosphoric acid, which is toxic for the aquatic environment and corrosive in the presence of water.

With the technical support of the on-call officer of the Inspection authorities for classified facilities, firefighters donned personal respiratory protection. A security perimeter of 50 m was set up. After spraying down the fertilizers to cool them off, the stock was then covered with soil. The emergency services then checked that the combustion had stopped using a thermal sensor.

At 6:40 a.m., fire resumed in the straw and beams. The fire brigade set up a fire hose again, taking care not to spray the fertilizer storage area, which was cooling down. The fire was extinguished at about 7:00 a.m.

At 10 a.m., the duty officer on call informed the Prefecture about the following points:

  • the fertilizer storage facility had been entirely cooled down while maintaining a protective perimeter against potential gaseous emissions,
  • it was to be verified that the fertilizer storage was protected from the elements until it had been cooled down and evacuated,
  • it was to be verified that the facility operator would take appropriate measures to dispose of the fertilizer.