Rotterdam waste center fire could impact trash collection in Utrecht & The Hague
A large fire that has been raging at a waste processor in Rotterdam for over 24 hours could impact trash collection in several large Dutch cities. AVR Rotterdam takes in and processes household waste from Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Hague, and Leiden, among others.
The company is “feverishly” trying to find other locations for collected waste, a spokesperson for AVR told NOS. He didn’t dare say whether the affected municipalities would really have a problem. “We can only estimate whether this is necessary once the fire has been extinguished.”
The fire broke out at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday in an AVR warehouse where household waste is burned in Botlek. The staff was able to get away before getting hurt. Firefighters reported on Thursday afternoon that the fire was under control, but it flared up again at around 11:00 p.m.
UPDATE | De brand die gisterenochtend woedde bij de AVR afvalverbrandingsinstallatie in de Botlek Rotterdam, is rond 21 uur opnieuw opgelaaid. Inmiddels is opgeschaald naar grote brand en GRIP 1. In de omgeving kan sprake zijn van rook- en stankoverlast. https://t.co/AoGOiNbhgi pic.twitter.com/JntFchCa2r— MediaTV (@mediatvnl) September 21, 2023
Thick clouds of smoke are still moving over the Scheur toward Maasluis and Vlaardingen. Spokesperson Rene van der Linden for the local safety office, Veiligheidsregio Rotterdam-Rijnmond, told NOS that they found no harmful substances in the smoke outside the waste processing site. “Smoke is, of course, never healthy, but it is not such that people have to take shelter,” he said. “We do advise you to close windows and doors and turn off ventilation.”
The fire is difficult to extinguish because the waste is burning, Van der Linden said. “Because you actually have to take it apart completely to be able to extinguish it properly. What is burning is inside a building, and it is difficult for us to reach it. We have to extinguish it from inside. But we don’t want our staff to do that because it is really too dangerous.”
The safety office, which manages the local emergency services, said responders initially tried to break holes in the roof through which they could extinguish the fire, but that didn’t work. “The next approach is to try to make openings on the side of the building so that we can extinguish the fire in a targeted manner. We are also using extinguishing robots. These are unmanned extinguishers that ensure that the fire cannot spread to other crucial parts.”
According to Van der Linden, it will take hours, if not longer, for firefighters to extinguish this blaze. “It could even take days, and we don’t want that. We want to get back to a normal situation as quickly as possible.”