In a wooden pallet factory, subject to declaration (under sections 2410, 1532), a fire broke out around 8:50 a.m. on a dust extractor during a maintenance operation. The flames from the fire reached heights of 5 m, and thirty-five employees were evacuated. The fire brigade arrived and was able to extinguish the fire at around 10:50 a.m. They then cleared and ventilated the area. Following the intervention by the emergency services, the site’s activities were resumed following the installation of a 400 kVA generator set.
The press reported property damage at the site which included 100 m² of roofing and 400 m² of premises destroyed. Various equipment, such as the intake system, shredders and the wood boiler room, were also damaged.
Hot spot work
The fire started during a welding operation on a cyclonic wood dust collection system. During the operation, welding residues fell onto the rubber sheathing on a motor, located 4 m below. The sheathing ignited resulting in a fireball which spread through the exhaust system and muffler causing a fire to ignite in a column.
The operator provided feedback on what has worked well and what has not; the following points were identified among the actions that were successful:
- early contact with the emergency rescue services;
- rapid evacuation of the personnel and visitors;
- compliance with the rules for storing wood and pallets in separate islands; and what needs to be improved:
- clarification of the roles of the staff members in charge of evacuation efforts;
- redefinition of the operating rules (fire permit) on equipment generating air flows (suction, blower).