A fire broke out at around 6 p.m. in a manufacturing plant specialising in shot blasting and powder coating. A neighbouring company raised the alarm after seeing smoke coming from the building. The fire brigade was able to contain the fire at around 7:15 p.m. and then left the premises at 9:15 p.m. Part of the powder coating chain was destroyed. The mezzanine above the part cooling area, used for document and archival storage, was destroyed. The building’s cladding, electrical installations, several machines and the powder paint storage area were damaged. The extinguishing water was not contained on site. Seven people were laid off until the buildings could be renovated which lasted several months.
The fire had started at the outlet of the powder coating oven, in the part drying/cooling zone. A non-standard, 10.30 m- long, part was powder-coated and then introduced into the oven, which is only 10.20 m long, 10 cm shorter than the part. The technician in charge of powder coating knew that it would not be possible to close the oven. He relied on the fact that this type of practice had already been done and that there was a time constraint involved since the part had to be delivered the next morning. He, therefore, left the oven’s outlet door slightly ajar and started the oven around 5:20 p.m. The baking process lasts 20 minutes and stops automatically on a timer system. The part was supposed to cool down throughout the night. At the end of the shift, the technicians left the workshop although there remained 10 minutes left to bake, and with no supervision. The outside temperature that day was 34 °C.
The personnel was reminded of good workshop practices.