Fire at scrap metal dealer releases cyanide

Hydrogen cynanide Kampen fireA fire at a scrap metal dealers in Kampen has led to the release of highly toxic hydrogen cyanide gas and locals have been warned to keep their doors and windows closed.

The fire broke out this morning in a large heap of scrap metal. Although locals have been told to take precautions, mayor Bert Kampen told a news conference on Wednesday afternoon there is only a very slight risk to the health of people living within 300 metres of the blaze.

The local health board also says the concentration of gas is so low that it poses a minimal risk to health. Hydrogen cyanide, also known as prussic acid, is a deadly compound which was used in the Nazi concentration camps.


Fire engines from all over the region are at the scene and by 15.30 the fire was under control, but not yet out. Fire officials say it will take until well into the evening to make sure the fire has been properly dowsed.

The scrap dealer is located on the edge of the Overijssel town, next to a housing estate. Companies close to the fire have been closed for the rest of the day.

The local public safety board says it has received complaints about the smoke from all over the town. Dozens of people have complained of headaches, but this is likely to be due to the decision to shut down air conditioning systems rather than the gas, officials said.

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