A warehouse fire Tuesday morning in the industrial port city of Bremen, Germany, renewed local concern about possible asbestos contamination after a 3½-day warehouse complex fire last week.
Coin-sized pieces of burned asbestos fell within a 300-meter radius of the April 30 fire that destroyed 10 warehouses at the port, local media reports. Nearly 150 emergency service agencies were called to action during the blaze.
Health officials insist that the chunks are too big to present an immediate health threat. Asbestos, used for many years as a heat-resistant building material, is carcinogenic if fibers are inhaled into the lungs.
The warehouses destroyed in the April 30 fire used asbestos as roofing material. Broken pieces of the material were lifted into the air by the thermal updraft, health officials said. However, too heavy to remain airborne indefinitely, the chunks settled back to earth across a wide area.
Anyone finding the pieces are asked to report it to warehouse owner’s insurance company so that a specialist can be dispatched to collect it.
Otherwise, air pollution from the fire was not considered harmful, authorities said.
Like the April fire, the fire Tuesday released heavy black smoke over the community. The fire broke out despite a fire watch still in place from the previous blaze.
One person was hospitalized with serious injuries, local media reports.