At around 10:30 a.m., in a Seveso high threshold biomass cogeneration power station, a fire broke out on a pneumatic wood chip conveyor feeding a boiler from 2 silos. The fire alarm went off, and the internal contingency plan (shared with the neighbouring site, also classified as Seveso high threshold) was initiated. The employees began fighting the fire with fire extinguishers, but the emergency services were called in to assist due to the risk of incandescent particles flying towards the nearby pine forest. Firefighters were able to protect the forest and the surrounding area.
The flames spread to a 2nd conveyor and the 35 m tall bucket elevator. The staff was evacuated to a secure location, and the boiler and all electrical installations were shut down. The deluge-type water intake valves of the 2 silos were opened to prevent the fire from spreading to the biomass storage.
With the help of a long ladder, the fire on the bucket elevator was extinguished first, followed by the fire on the conveyors. Following an inspection, residual fires were found in both silos, each containing 1,500 m³ of wood chips. The silos were emptied with a bulldozer the following day, and the extinguishing water was confined in the site’s retention basin.
During the period that the silos were unavailable due to the refurbishment of conveyors, the biomass was stored outdoors near the depot. This storage location was monitored around the clock. The biomass was then transferred directly from the external storage area to the storage depots using a loader to feed the boiler without having to use the silos.
According to the facility operator, the fire is most likely of mechanical or electrical origin.