Fire ignited Tuesday afternoon in a tank containing waste solvents used to fuel high temperature kilns at a cement plant in northeastern France, forcing the evacuation of nearly 60 workers, Le Republicain Lorrain reports.
The facility is rated as SEVESO high threshold. The European Union’s SEVESO Directive applies to 12,000 industrial establishments where dangerous substances are used or stored in large quantities.
Slightly before 2 p.m., the fire erupted at Eqiom Cement in Heming. Company firefighters responded, first taking care to shut off the remaining fuel to the plant’s two kiln ovens.
Soon responders began arriving from across the Moselle department of Grand Est. These fire crews train regularly on the Eqiom site due to its SEVESO designation, local media reports.
Heavy gray smoke slowly gave way to white, indicating extinguishment. However, police took care to halt road and rail traffic near the plant. Also, nearby residents were ordered to stay indoors with windows and doors closed.