At approximately 10:00 am on a Saturday, a fire broke out in a goods shipping building (floor area: 6,000m²) at a specialist freight business. A large plume of smoke raised and explosions were heard. A security perimeter was set up and 4 homes located near the incident were locked down as a safety measure. Traffic was stopped and diverted to the D5 by-road. The fire spread to various vehicles parked nearby. It was contained and brought under control by firefighters at 1:10 pm, saving the administrative building and all the computer servers. The buildings with the highest risk potential (due to storage of hazardous substances) were not affected. Quenching continued until the next day. The extinguishing waters were retained in retention tanks. Initial atmospheric measurements did not demonstrate that the incident had had any specific impact.

The parcel delivery building collapsed. The building, which had been built the year before, featured approximately 100 unloading docks, and housed parcels to be delivered containing more than 250T of substances including 3.7 classified as hazardous substances (particularly including flammable liquids). Twenty-two 12T trucks and 7 HGV trailers were destroyed. The cost of the incident was estimated at €15m. 40 people were technically unemployed.

The fire might have broke out due to an issue with a pallet truck lithium battery (collision with the battery or charger inlets blocked). Initial evidence appeared to demonstrate that the site’s fire safety systems were insufficient, particularly as there was no water supply facility north of the building.

Following the event, a prefectural order taking emergency measures was issued featuring guidelines – including management of waste and extinguishing water – and requesting modelling of the plume of smoke. The conditions for resumption of the parcel delivery business line were also specified.

When reconstructing the building, the operator plans to:

  • modify the fire detection systems (siren, verification);
  • set up sprinkler systems in the building,
  • modify its internal emergency plan (integration of the building, modification of truck key management);
  • set up a suitable lithium-ion battery charging room.

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