Fertilizer warehouse fire risks remain, warn German town officials

26 September 2012 17:14  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Authorities at Krefeld, near Duisburg on the Rhine river, warned on Wednesday of continued risks to air quality after a blaze at a fertilizer warehouse in the German town.

Officials at a chemical park in the area have also warned chemical producers to take precautions.

The fire, at the Krefeld warehouse of fertilizer firm COMPO, broke out on Tuesday morning at around 07:10 hours German local time (05:10 hours GMT), raging for about eight hours before fire fighters managed to bring it under control.

The fire was finally put out early Wednesday, but there continue to be incidents of smouldering, resulting in thick clouds of black smoke at the site, officials said.

The blaze completely destroyed the warehouse, which at the time held about 13,000 tonnes of raw materials for fertilizer production and about 20,000 tonnes of granulated fertilizer products.

In an update on Wednesday, Krefeld city officials said it was still too early to issue an “all-clear”, given ongoing potential risks from the heavy black smoke affecting residents in Krefeld, Duisburg, and other cities in the densely populated region on Tuesday.

The city warned residents not to eat vegetables grown in their gardens. In addition, residents in certain parts of the city are still being advised to keep windows and doors closed.

However, the officials added that measurements throughout Tuesday and Wednesday showed that nitric oxide levels in the city were within prescribed levels.

Meanwhile, the operator of the chemical park in Krefeld-Uerdingen said that firms needed to take precautions because of the accident. In particular, producers should restrict work outside buildings to a minimum because of poor air quality.

The cause of the fire is not yet known. Fire officials said an investigation can only begin after all smouldering has been stopped and debris from the warehouse is removed.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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