A major fire broke out yesterday at a chemical plant in the city of Rouen, northwest France. Authorities have asked residents of the area to remain in their homes as a precaution.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said that «there are no elements allow to believe that there is a danger associated with smoke» resulting from the fire.
The fire started at night at the Lubrizol plant, which mainly produces lubricants without causing injuries, and the site was classified as extremely dangerous.
The head of the Normandy region, Pierre André Duran, said a 500-meter wide tape around the site of the fire had been evacuated, adding that no injuries had been reported. In turn, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told RTL radio that "there are no elements that allow to believe that there is a danger associated with smoke" resulting from the ongoing fire.
"There is no need to panic, but we must be very careful," the interior minister said. "In these cases, it is necessary to inform the population immediately to avoid any panic." The surrounding schools will remain closed.
“There is no element to believe that the region should be closed,” he said. “We are doing all the necessary analysis in the meantime. Do not worry".
He announced that an investigation would be carried out to uncover the source of the fire, which is "in the process of being controlled by 150 firefighters."
Later, the French authorities warned of the "danger of contamination" of the Seine River because of this fire. "We are still struggling with the possibility that pollution in the Seine could spread due to the flooding of the storage basins," Pierre Andre Duran, the governor of Seine-Maritime, told reporters.
The Seine passes through Paris before it crosses Rouen and flows into the English Channel at Havre.