Mass evacuation in Liege
7 February 2005
BRUSSELS – Around 2,000 Liege residents were evacuated from their homes in the early hours of Monday morning after an explosion in a nearby chemicals factory.
Nobody was injured by the explosion but fire authorities put a catastrophe plan into motion due to fears of a toxic fume leak.
The 2,000 residents who lived less than 500 metres from the factory were taken to the police station in Liege and a sports hall in Ougree.
Some residents chose to remain in their cars on the slopes of the Meuse valley.
Those gathered at the sports hall, from the Seraing commune, had to wait until 3am before being allowed to return to their homes.
Residents were advised to keep their windows closed, although the governor of Liege province, Michel Foret assured the public that there was no danger to their health.
The fire at the Chimac-Agriphar factory broke out at 8.45 pm after a short circuit ignited an organic pesticide that already had a temperature of 80 degrees.
The factory had 32 containers each holding 250 kilos of the pesticide.
The factory roof collapsed during the blaze, allowing fumes to escape.
The unknown nature of the fumes sparked the province’s highest disaster alert at 9.47 pm.
A total of 18 people appeared in different local hospitals complaining of stress and irritations from the leaked fumes.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news