Video: Massive fire destroys tortilla factory in Roermond

Firefighting_in_Russia_in_December_2010
Fire hose (Photo: Vitaliy Ragulin / Wikimedia Commons)Fire hose (Photo: Vitaliy Ragulin / Wikimedia Commons)

Update, 10:40 a.m., 4 December 2019: The Limburg Noord Safety Region said the fire was under control, and that it expected smoke to decrease through to 11:30 a.m.

A massive fire broke out at a Mission Foods bakery on Industrieweg in Roermond on Wednesday before 6:30 a.m. Emergency services are at the scene in large numbers. Due to a risk of explosion, first responders evacuated a radius of 400 meters around the factory.

The fire started in a building where tortillas are made, according to 1Limburg. Multiple employees were in the building at the time, but they all managed to get outside without being injured. 

A massive cloud of black smoke can be seen above the building. This is likely caused by burning conveyer belts, a fire department spokesperson said to NU.nl.

Even without asbestos, the smoke was hazardous to the health of people in the Roerstreek-Noord district and parts of Roerstreek-Zuid, according to the Limburg Safety Region. Smoke in the air was also likely to be an irritant to people in a region that extends as far west as Merum, in Donderberg at the north, Roerstreek-Noord in the east, and Lerop and Melick in the south.

Earlier, the fire department advised local residents in the Donderberg district to keep their doors and windows closed. This information was sent to locals with an NL-Alert. 

There were about 100 firefighters involved in battling the blaze. The fire was still raging later in the morning when the incident was elevated to a Grip 3 alarm, signifying that it was also having an impact on more than just the immediate surroundings. The Grip 3 was declared at about 9 a.m., over two and a half hours after the fire began.

All Grip alarms begin with the establishment of a chain of command, where all emergency services providers unite under a single commander. As the alarm escalates, procedure dictates that the incident command team keep municipal and regional leadership apprised of the situation so additional services to the community can be better organized. Once a Grip 3 is declared, the mayor of the affected municipality works with policymakers to lead the citywide community response, while the National Crisis Center takes a role in communicating updates on the incident with the Interior Minister and the provincial Commissioner to the King.

Emergency services received the first alarm signal at 6:28 a.m. on Wednesday. The alarm was elevated to a large fire by 6:50 a.m., and then to a very large fire by 7:05 a.m. At 7:10 a.m. the situation was escalated to a Grip 1. It rose to a Grip 2 at 7:35 a.m., which means that the fire was said to affect a wider perimeter than just the food factory.

Fire departments from Roermond, the rest of Midden-Limburg, and Venlo responded to the scene. Some of the firefighters are trying to extinguish the flames, others are trying to get into the hall using grinders, 1Limburg writes.

The fire at meant that some 500 workers were unable to show up for their jobs at multiple businesses in and around the industrial complex.

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