Kruger: twice too much combustible material in Deauville
“There was really an exaggeration and a non-respect of quantities on the site”, confides the coordinator of emergency services and director of the fire protection service in Sherbrooke, Stéphane Simoneau, adding that the complication of access may have affected the quality and effectiveness of the intervention.
Share November 13, 2020 5.30 p.m. Update at 7.18 p.m. Share Kruger: twice too much combustible material in Deauville
Tommy Brochu La Tribune Kruger had more than double the combustible material allowed at its Deauville location this weekend when a fire broke out there. “There was so much material that our fire trucks had a hard time getting to. It was really problematic, ”says the coordinator of emergency services and director of the fire protection service in Sherbrooke, Stéphane Simoneau. Read also
- various facts
- various facts
“There was really an exaggeration and non-compliance with quantities at the site,” he says, adding that the complication of access may have had an impact on the quality and effectiveness of the intervention.
The shutdown of a Kruger plant due to the pandemic has a role to play in this blaze. “The cogeneration plant shut down, but the materials continued to accumulate. Obviously, this is not an excuse, but it explains why they had reached accumulations of this scale, ”thinks Mr. Simoneau.
Kruger Corporate Vice President Fibers, Biomaterials and Sustainability, Maxime Cossette, believes this is a lack of communication between Kruger and the Fire Department. “We had started a relationship to upgrade the site following their annual visit in November. We were supposed to meet in March, but COVID complicated everything. We always had the impression that the quantities of materials were managed by our certificate of authorization with the Ministry of the Environment, with which we are not in violation, ”he says, adding that he will come to see the all Wednesday.
And what complicated access to the site? “It's directly connected to the fire,” said Mr. Cossette. The source of the fire was under a pile of materials. There were maneuvers with the teams on site to clear the access to extinguish the fire. When we moved this pile, that's where we made it very difficult to access. We tried to solve one problem and created another, ”he replies, adding that the shutdown of the cogeneration plant – which has since restarted – was a“ contributing factor to the larger quantities on the site ”.
The firefighters therefore spent two days putting out the blaze. Annual inspections and follow-ups took place.
The cause of the fire: spontaneous combustion. “It's organic matter that breaks down,” explains Stéphane Simoneau. It is even worse when it is compressed by a pile of waste material, that there is a lot of heat at ground level. The temperature rises so much that it can reach a flash point. This is what happened and the pile of materials ignited. “
“The company made a commitment to remove the residual material, but it was our fear that it could rekindle,” he continues. It's a kind of sawdust that is on the ground, and there are several feet of it. When machinery is stirred to recover material, heat and ventilation can be conducive to ignition of the material. This is what happened Thursday, ”he said, recalling that the firefighters had to return to the scene.
“There's going to be a lot of work to do there for the next few weeks,” he said, welcoming Kruger's good collaboration, however.
Throughout the cleanup, Kruger will need to have a cistern on site with a portable pump system. “They have to make sure there is 24 hour surveillance, to make sure that someone, like the firefighters, can water to prevent it from starting again. Without sprinkling a large amount of water, we always want to moisten the material that goes away. We don't want to move the problem to Brompton ”, indicates the director of the Fire Protection Service, saying that there is therefore“ a whole preventive strategy to be done ”.
“We will take the necessary measures to meet their expectations,” confirms Mr. Cossette. It is not to our advantage to operate in less than optimal conditions. “
Urgence Environnement has carried out tests and validated that the firefighters' methods create a runoff in accordance with the regulations.
A notice of violation was issued with conditions, including a plan to correct the situation. However, no fine was given. “We're not closing the door. […] The priority is to correct the situation, then we will see how we will position ourselves. “
Mr. Simoneau wishes to reassure the population, the risk of explosion is zero, despite the presence of smoke.