At around 4 a.m., a fire broke out in the oven of a company specialised in the manufacture and packaging of aerosol products. The building consisted of two areas separated by a fire wall:

  • a 500 m² “aerosol packaging” unit, containing the oven and a packaging line;
  • a 500 m² “formulation” unit.

The site’s director received a call from the remote monitoring station indicating that a flame detector had been triggered. An employee living nearby was dispatched to the site. He reported smoke exiting the packaging unit’s ventilation outlets and alerted the fire brigade. He opened the retention basin’s valves and shut off the gas.

The fire was extinguished at around 5:15 a.m. The emergency services, using a thermal camera, noted that the temperature of the fire wall separating the 2 compartments was 48 °C. The building was ventilated.


Over 3 m² of the fire wall adjacent to the oven was extensively damaged. The packaging line was also damaged, although the damage was repaired within ten days. The production facility was not impacted and there was no contact with chemical substances.

The extinguishing water (400 l) was transferred to an underground tank, then processed by a specialised company.

Causal analysis

It was determined that the origin of the fire was attributable to human error. The oven had been equipped with an electronic programmer which had apparently been incorrectly programmed the day before, causing the oven to start up prematurely between 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning. The oven should have started at 7:15 a.m. while staff were present.

The oven contained plastic components and cardboard. These elements melted, having been subjected to a temperature of 80 °C for more than an hour, causing the oven to catch fire. The flames spread to a pallet of diffusers (plastic components) stored near the firewall.

Measures taken

The operator decided to take the following measures:

  • programmers no longer used;
  • modification of its procedures so that ovens do not operate when no personnel are present.

Steps have been taken to raise the awareness of the personnel with regard to the safety rules and the consequences of a lack of vigilance.