At about 3 p.m., in a waste recovery company, a fire broke out in the stock of waste waiting to be sorted. The technician notified the site manager and the fire brigade. The available fire-fighting resources were put in place before they arrived. The waste was sprayed down and then extracted with a grapple shovel, then spread out and sprayed down again to prevent it from catching fire again. The intervention ended at 3:30 p.m. but the site was monitored until the next morning.

The fire affected neither the hangar covered with photovoltaic panels nor the high voltage line located close by. Two skips filled with scrap metal from the sorting process were damaged.

There were two possible causes of the fire, according to the operator:

  • non-compliance with the smoking ban by one of the employees;
  • the presence of a fragment of glass or metal amongst the waste which would have caused a “magnifying effect” under the effect of the sun’s rays (ignition of paper/cardboard fragments which then spread to the rest of the waste). The day of the accident was unusually hot and was in the middle of a heat wave lasting several days.

Following the accident, the operator took the following measures:

  • heightened vigilance during the visual verification of waste in order to identify foreign objects (broken glass, pieces of metal) likely to trigger an outbreak of fire;
  • increase the frequency of waste rotation during periods of hot weather in order to limit solar exposure;
  • all employees were reminded of the smoking ban;
  • remedial fire protection training for all employees, in collaboration with neighbouring companies;
  • discussion of the event and lessons learnt in a dedicated meeting with all employees.