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19360 Chemical accident in Belgium with tar
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General accident information
Class/Quality * * *
Year 2003
Summary Fire started at one of 5 coke towers at
A disused coke factory during preparing
For demolition causing large amounts of
Smoke and bad smell
Country B
Chemicals Cokes gas, Tar
Cause Human-failure
Fatalities/Injuries 0 / 0
Occurrences or events Collapse/Destroy, Collapse/Destroy, Constructionwork, Cooling,
Disperse/Spread, Fire, Fire, Fire,
Fire, Fire, Fire fighting/Emergency response, Fire fighting/Emergency response,
Fire fighting/Emergency response, Fire fighting/Emergency response, Human-operations, Not-cleaned,
Safety-measures, Shelter-in-place, Smoke-emission, Stench-emission,
Traffic-interruption, Wrong-action
Full accident information 
download accident report Click here to view a document containing the full accident information

Country: BELGIUM (B)
Date : 2003 1210

A fire started at an old coke factory. As they were preparing for demolition, a fire started at one of the five coke towers.
When the fire department arrived at the scene they saw that one of the towers was engulfed in flames. Due high risks for the collapse or explosion of the towers, firefighters used large monitors from distance to keep the towers cool.
A day later the fire started to calm down. A collapse of the first tower set the second coke tower ablaze. Firefighters battled flames until Saturday when the worst seemed over. Some cooling continued and several companies could return to their stations.
The following Monday night the fire started again and engulfed the second tower. Due to large amounts of smoke and the bad smell, the second tower was demolished with a large telescopic crane. The smoke drifted to other countries and the bad odour was smelled in a wide environment.
Large amounts of foam were used to control the flames within the tower. Unfortunately, a third tower caught during the demolition of the second coke tower.
On Wednesday the large telescopic crane will come back to the site to demolish the continuing towers.
Using welding torches caused the fire. This was contrary to the agreement. Besides, a dangerous tar coating was not removed before the demolition work.

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