In an ELV centre, a fire broke out at around 12:30 a.m. on a stock of 400 m² of unpolluted vehicles stacked 2 to 7 m high. A plume of smoke was released, and security company alerted the facility operator and the fire brigade. As the facility’s gate was closed, firefighters had to make a hole in the fence in order to access the site. The wind fanned the flames and made it difficult to respond. The fire brigade was eventually able to bring the fire under control at around 8 a.m. using foam. The vehicles that had been caught in the fire were moved with a grapple and allowed to cool down. The emergency services personnel left the site at around 2:00 p.m. that afternoon, although the operator kept surveillance of the site in place until 6 p.m.
The fire affected an area of 6,500 m² used to store damaged vehicles (“economically irreparable vehicles” or EIVs) and then moved to the adjacent stock of depolluted and compacted end-of-life vehicles (ELVs). The fire did not spread to the hazardous waste transit area (lead storage batteries), metal waste storage or the ELV treatment equipment.
The site was not equipped with a retention basin. The extinguishing water passed through the oil separator before making its way to the public wastewater network.
A formal notice was issued to request, as a matter of urgency, that the site be secured and that the EIV activity be suspended until the area was thoroughly cleaned up and the burnt waste disposed of.
The operator also had to clean out the site’s gutters and hydrocarbon separators and store the ashes and fire residues in a manner that would avoid pollution (blowing away, runoff, infiltrations).
The burnt vehicles were prepared by the operator (shearing treatment) before removal. Residues and fire ashes were stored in a covered tip before being sent for treatment.
Causal analysis and measures taken
The cause of the fire remains unknown, although the operator assumed that the batteries still present in the EIV were involved.
Following the accident, the operator modified its procedures to ensure that the batteries of all the EIVs coming into the site were disconnected.
Sensors were added to fine tune the meshing of its video-surveillance network.