A massive chemical fire in September 2019 split between a Lubrizol-owned plant and its neighboring storage facility in northern France originated on Lubrizol’s side of the fence, a expert report prepared for civil litigation states.
Lubrizol CEO Eric Schnur, testifying before the French Senate and National Assembly commissioners in October 2019 said he had no doubt that flames spread to his company’s site from outside the property
“Lubrizol will examine with the greatest attention the entire expert report to request, if necessary, additional expertise or a second opinion,” a press release issued by Lubrizol states.
A lawyer for Normandie Logistique, owner of the neighboring facility, told Quest France that the report comes as a relief.
“This attests to what has been said from the start,” Christophe Boog said.
Of the 9,503 tons of product destroyed in the fire, more than 55% belonged to Lubrizol. The rest was product stored at Normandie Logistique for various customers.
The report, prepared as evidence in a lawsuit filed by victims of the fire, speculates that either faulty lighting or a forklift striking a container ignited the blaze. A initial criminal investigation after the fire alleged that faulty electric heaters in a locker room at Normandie Logistique caused the fire.
Lubrizol is owned by the multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway. In February, Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire, make the embarrassing disclosure that the same company also owns FM Global, property insurer for Lubrizol.