Mystery blaze razes up to 500 tonnes of PP pallet sheets at Cartonplast plant

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A major fire in Germany is reported to have destroyed up to 500 tonnes of polypropylene layer-pad pallet dividers stored at the Essen plant of transit packaging specialist Cartonplast.

Around 150 fire fighters deployed at the scene of the blaze in the north of the city managed to prevent the blaze spreading to a production hall and large warehouse building in the early hours of Tuesday (14/8). 

At the height of the emergency, huge clouds of acrid smoke were visible from miles around the plant and flames were said to have leapt 15 metres into the night sky. No injuries were reported as a result of the blaze. 

It took fire brigade personnel, equipped with 40 fire tenders and other vehicles, five hours to tackle the fire which burnt up to 1,000 pallets, each stacked with 500kgs of the PP protective sheets. A truck trailer was also destroyed by flames.

Fire fighters were reported to have laid out up to four kilometres of hoses to deliver massive volumes of foam and water needed to extinguish the blaze. 

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, it was still unclear how it broke out and police are reported to be investigating its cause. The full extent of the damage and losses are still unknown.

The plastic dividers, kept in an external storage area at the Essen site, were used and reused to protect pallet layers of glass, can and PET packaged goods in transit in Cartonplast’s region wide rental and service business.

The blaze at Essen is reported to be the latest in a number of fire outbreaks at Cartonplast operations in Germany over recent years.  Several incidents have occurred at the same Essen site, including a previous blaze in 2011 which destroyed 2,500 tonnes of plastic products, according to the local fire service.

In November 2014, the firm reported that fire broke out at a service and logistics centre at the Cartonplast group headquarters in Dietzenbach, south of Essen, damaging and destroying layer-pad products. A warehouse was reported to have been burnt down. 

In that case, other regional service centres had to take over the facility’s work while the resulting damage was repaired and debris removed.    

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