We are beginning to know a little more about the course of the explosions that occurred on the Manuco site (Eurenco Group) in Bergerac (Dordogne) last Wednesday, causing eight injuries, including one seriously.

All are now "out of danger" and five have already been discharged from hospital.

A phenomenon of luminous "flash" was observed just before the series of three explosions during a "piping assembly site" on this site classified Seveso "high threshold" producing nitrocellulose, an explosive substance, indicated Monday the leadership of the group.

"The observed phenomenon is a kind of flash of light which then triggered a first explosion, followed by a fire and two other explosions", summed up the CEO of Eurenco Thierry Francou.

Three projects were in progress

In a new update on its internal investigation on Monday, management specifies that "three projects were underway in the nitrocellulose refining area" at the time of the accident.

“The first concerned pipe assembly work on a tank, the second routine maintenance of refiners and the third concerned maintenance on electrical installations,” Eurenco detailed in a press release.

According to "the first testimonies", "a flash would have occurred in the area of ​​the piping assembly site where an operation to reconnect a new pipe to the existing installations was being carried out".

"The causes of this reaction remain to be clarified" but this operation would have triggered "a first explosion in the northern part of the building then resulting in a fire and two other explosions", explained Eurenco.

Several open investigations

On Friday, the group indicated that a maintenance operation "would be the cause of the accident", while arguing that "the high temperatures and especially the very low humidity", had "also been able to play a role" .

The site was shut down at the time of the accident to carry out these operations.

An internal investigation was opened, in parallel with two other procedures.

One, judicial, was opened by the Bergerac public prosecutor's office while an administrative investigation is also being conducted by the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis of Accidental Risks, created in December 2020 after the Lubrizol accident in Rouen.

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  • Company

  • Accident

  • Industry

  • Seveso

  • Bergerac

  • Aquitaine