“With the floods and the fire in the Fagnes in 2011, this is one of the three biggest interventions in our rescue zone”, explains the commander of the VHP zone Quentin Grégoire.
This intervention is the fire that took place this Sunday at the end of the afternoon on the site of the Reprocover company in Petit-Rechain, a subsidiary of the family company Les Etablissements Simonis, in Petit-Rechain.
During the night, a hundred firefighters intervened on the spot, including reinforcements from Antwerp! They fought the flames for a long time before finally being able to put out the fire overnight.
“This is a factory that recycles rubber and grinds it,” emphasizes Quentin Grégoire. “The problem has long been to be able to put out this rubber fire. With conventional water, this was not possible. Once we stopped, it resumed directly. We had to wait for foam via the firefighters of Liège, the firefighters of zone 6 (German-speaking zone) or even civil protection. Of the reinforcements from Antwerp also came to help us put out the fire. And this operation was able to be carried out between 3 and 5 am. We couldn’t afford to reopen the zoning until the fire was under control. »
“We had up to a hundred men on site for this operation. We were able to contain the fire in some places and part of the company was saved. It didn’t all go up in smoke. It remains to be seen which part is still standing. I don’t know if it’s the production workshops, the administrative part… We’re still going to stay for at least a good part of the day on Monday because a private company will have to carry out excavation operations. And the firefighters will remain in reinforcement to help and monitor. »
A whole hall went up in smoke
On the spot, we were able to see this Monday at the end of the morning that the men of the fire, always helped by the Civil Protection, were always well in action.
“We have 21 firefighters at the end of the morning,” underlines the officer in charge of the VHP zone. “The fire is relatively under control. We try to carry out the cuttings by spreading all the fuels with the help of the company’s cranes. In terms of damage, an entire hall is gone as are other parts of the building. Fortunately the fire was well controlled and well cut and there was no spread to other neighboring buildings of other companies.
It is difficult to determine the timing because there is still quite a lot of smoke. We will stay there to extract the piles and as long as there are dangers, we will not leave the scene of the intervention. »
This Monday morning, a slight release of smoke was visible during the excavation phase which should last a few hours.
The Petit-Rechain zoning has been accessible again since 6 a.m. this morning, except for Avenue André Ernst, between Rue Biolleux and Rue Gelée, which will remain closed to traffic to allow staff to work in complete safety.
The companies located in this perimeter remain accessible to employees, specify the firefighters. This Monday morning, about thirty firefighters and a dozen civil protection agents were still at the scene of the disaster which caused no injuries. At the end of the morning, during our report on the spot, 21 firefighters were still busy on the spot.
Following the fire, a large quantity of extinguishing foam was used by firefighters during the night. Part of it left via the sewers and emerged in various places in the city of Verviers and the town of Dison.
This foam is not dangerous and can be compared to soap. “No action is currently necessary and the situation is being closely monitored”, specify the firefighters.