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WATCH: Massive fire at Warren Buffet owned toxic chemical plant in France

PortandTerminal.com, September 26, 2019

“The fight they will have to wage to get the situation fully under control will take several days, maybe even weeks,” France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said after arriving at the site.

ROUEN, FRANCE – At least 200 firefighters are still fighting a massive fire which broke out in the early hours of Thursday at Lubrizol, a Seveso classified French chemical factory in Rouen, France.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner says it could take “even weeks” to get the toxic fire under control at the Seveso classified Lubrizol site.

Schools and nurseries in 13 nearby towns have been closed, according to local authorities, and police have urged residents living near the Lubrizol plant in Rouen to limit their movements or evacuate. There are no reported injuries at this time.

Rouen (pop. 500k) is approximately 82 miles (137 km) from Paris

What does Seveso classification mean?

The Seveso disaster was an industrial accident that occurred in 1976, in a small chemical manufacturing plant approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Milan, Italy. The accident caused the largest ever release of gases including TCDD — a form of cancer-causing dioxin.

The Lubrizol factory in Rouen has “Seveso” classification in Europe. In Europe, the catastrophic toxic chemical accident in the Italian town of Seveso in 1976 prompted the adoption of legislation on the prevention and control of such toxic accidents.

The Seveso Directive applies to more than 12 000 industrial establishments in the European Union where dangerous substances are used or stored in large quantities, mainly in the chemical and petrochemical industry, as well as in fuel wholesale and storage.

Lubrizol’s facility in Rouen

Entrance gate to Lubrizol’s facility in Rouen, France

The factory on the edge of the river Seine in Rouen belongs to US multinational Lubrizol, which is owned by billionaire American investor Warren Buffett. The 89-year old investor put down $9.7 billion, or about a quarter of Berkshire Hathaway ‘s entire cash pile at the time, to buy Lubrizol Corporation, a speciality chemicals company based in Wickliffe, Ohio.

Local Rouen resident posting photos of the toxic sludge covering Rouen. There are now serious concerns that France’s Seine river will be contaminated as well.

In January 2013, Rouen’s Lubrizol plant was responsible for a giant leak of the gas mercaptan, which smells like cabbage or rotten eggs. It blew all the way to Paris and across the Channel into southern England where residents complained about the smell.

In 2015, 2,000 litres of mineral oil, which is used in lubricants, leaked into the local sewer system in Rouen, which is famed for its cathedral.

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