Chinook helicopters pour thousands of liters of water on Hengelo dump fire

A Chinook helicopter pouring water onto a fire at the Twence dump in Hengelo, 1 July 2018
A Chinook helicopter pouring water onto a fire at the Twence dump in Hengelo, 1 July 2018Photo: @dhcluchtmacht / Twitter

Defense deployed two Chinook helicopters on Sunday to help the Twente fire department fight a large fire that broke out at the Twence dump in Hengelo on Saturday night. The helicopters flew over the dump time and again, pouring 10 thousand liters of water onto the fire each time, De Gelderlander reports.

The first Chinook started helping the fire department on Sunday morning. The second helicopter joined in around 3:30 p.m. They were active in the area until around 8:30. The fire department hopes to be able to use the helicopters again on Monday morning, according to De Gelderlander.

The helicopters got the water from Rutbekerveld near Enschede. According to the fire department, the helicopters had a positive effect on the fire, decreasing the amount of smoke released. However, the large amounts of water used did cause a stronger stench. "Unfortunately the expectation is that the smoke will continue until morning", a spokesperson for the fire department said to the newspaper on Sunday. "If you do not like sleeping in the smoke, consider spending the night elsewhere."

When the fire at the garbage dump will be under control, the fire department could not say. "I do not expect the fire to be completely extinguished by the Chinook", the spokesperson said. It may be days yet before the fire is extinguished. 

The fire started around 11:00 p.m. on Saturday. Meters high flames could be seen coming from a garbage pile of around 20 meters high, according to the newspaper. Large clouds of smoke were released, and the stench caused by the fire could also be smelled as far as Deventer and Kampen, according to the fire department.

Harmful substances were measured in the smoke, but not in worrying concentrations. Local residents are advised to keep their windows and doors closed, and switch off their ventilation. Due to the size of the fire, and how long it's taking to extinguish it, the situation was escalated to GRIP 1 - a procedure in which emergency services and other authorities work closely together.