A fire broke out at 6:30 p.m. in a non-hazardous waste landfill. The accident involved a storage compartment within a cell currently in operation. The guard was alerted by the triggering of the thermal camera detection. He called for help and tried in vain to extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher, but the strong wind fanned the flames, which spread over 1,500 m². A large amount of black smoke was released and alarmed residents. To prevent air from entering the biogas network, the biogas traps in the site’s cells were shut off.
Firefighters sprayed the flames, first from their tanker trucks and then from the site’s fire protection water supply via a motor-driven pump. At the same time, the on-call staff spread sand to smother the fire. They used the entire 20 m³ sand reserve around the cell in operation as an immediate intervention measure. Then, their equipment on site (tracked loaders and dump trucks) along with earthmoving companies were called in to mobilise more inert materials from the site’s main reserve of 3,500-tonnes of sand located further away. A total of 250 m³ of sand was deposited in the cell.
The fire was finally extinguished at 2:30 a.m., but wisps of smoke continued to appear. The last firefighters left the site at 3:30 a.m. Firefighting equipment (motor-driven pumps, hoses, monitors) was left on site to allow for a quick response in case of a renewed fire. The night guard provided increased surveillance with frequent rounds.
A firefighter, suffering from smoke inhalation, was transported to the hospital for observation.
The fire damaged the waterproofing membrane on the side of the cell but remained superficial. It concerned only 3 m² on the upper part not covered with waste. A specialised company repaired the waterproofing the following week.
The extinguishing water was contained in the cell and then processed in the site’s wastewater treatment plant.
The biogas collection points were reopened the next morning. The calcined waste was removed by a public works/construction company. A layer of clay was applied to the upper part of the waste wall to avoid any air ingress. The cell’s operation resumed two days after the fire.
The origin of the fire remains unknown. Despite its scale, associated with the strong wind, the incident highlights how the operator’s on-call system functioned correctly (security system outside opening hours and surveillance by thermal cameras) along with the protective measures (stock of inert materials, fire protection water supply).