People living in Dordrecht and close to the Moerdijk chemical plant which went up in flames on Thursday are being warned to avoid coming into contact with soot particles, Nos television reports.
Dordrecht mayor Arno Brok told a press conference that while no dangerous levels of chemicals were released in the blaze, people should not eat food from their vegetable gardens or allotments, children should not be allowed to play in playgrounds and pets should be kept under control.
Farmers have also been warned to keep cattle indoors.
The mayor stressed these were precautionary measures only and said the soot is being analysed. The public health council RIVM is currently looking at the concentration of the soot, some of which has drifted tens of kilometres from the blaze, the Telegraaf said.
Nevertheless, public health had not been put at ‘unacceptable risk’, Brok and the mayors of Moerdijk and Breda said, adding that the chemical packaging firm was in possession of all necessary permits, which were renewed in October last year.
The fire, which started on Thursday afternoon, was finally brought under control shortly after midnight. At its height, some 250 fire officers were involved.
One building at the Chemie-Pack site, which contains 100 tonnes of ‘dangerous substances’ remained untouched by the blaze. Fire officers are keeping the building damp to prevent a flare up.
Eight other companies in the vicinity have been evacuated because of complaints about the smell and irritation to eyes and nose. The charred buildings are still emitting smoke.
The source of the blaze is not yet known but the Dutch safety council has begun an investigation.
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