Around 8 pm, fire broke out in a 720-m² building at a waste recycling firm. The site was closed and the watchman momentarily away from his post. The blaze caused one of the power cables feeding the gate to melt, thereby preventing its opening. The watchman had to open the gate manually to enter the site along with first responders, who had been notified by someone outside the firm. A thick plume of black smoke was released. Fire-fighters connected to the hydrants on the lower part of the property. Emergency vehicle drivers were called in to back up the fire-fighting crew. The fire was brought under control around 10:15 pm, and rounds were organised to last all night long.
The roof on the burnt building was damaged, as were many cabling connections, thus making it temporarily impossible to continue with sorting and packing activities. The sprinkler heads in place above the press were activated, which served to protect the press. The other buildings sustained no damage. The fire extinction water (700 m³) was collected in the 1,430-m³ underground retention basin. The 200 tonnes of waste affected by the fire (paper, cardboard, plastics, etc.) were discharged to certified treatment facilities.
The cause of this accident could not be identified. No activity (vehicle use) or hot spot works had been conducted in the building during the week before the fire. The bailing machine present inside the building had been idle and turned off for 3 months.
A malicious act was suspected. Around 7:25 pm that evening, the watchman had noticed intruders within the closed site enclosure. The four individuals had escaped by climbing the fence and then taking off in a car. The blaze ignited during the watchman’s break at two distinct spots: one in the stockpile of panel pallets composed of plastic honeycomb polypropylene, the other in the recycled paper containers.
After this event, the operator decided to carry out drills with fire-fighters and provide them with a map of utility networks, plus the locations of the site’s fire prevention resources and safety devices in order to facilitate their response in the event of an accident.