A major fire broke out in Rouen on the night of Wednesday to Thursday in a factory classified Seveso "high threshold". There is now fear of "over-accident" and the risk of pollution of the Seine.

In Rouen, on the night of Wednesday to Thursday, a very important fire broke out in the Lubrizol factory, which manufactures additives for lubricants. This plant is classified Seveso "high threshold" (refers to industrial sites presenting risks of major accidents). The "over-accident" and a risk of pollution of the Seine are to be feared.

The priority of the rescue services is "to protect the dangerous products" that are still in the factory fire Lubrizol in Rouen to "avoid an over-accident," said Jean-Yves Lagalle, head of the Seine fire department -Maritime. "The top priorities are the company's indoor facilities that are not yet affected," he said, adding that two Seveso "low threshold" plants near the burning plant were evacuated.

"The firefighters wade in 3 or 4 cm of hydrocarbon, this type of fire is not extinguished only with water, it is necessary to put emulsifier, a carpet of foam", explained Jean- Yves Lagalle. "It's an extremely dangerous fire for personnel safety," he added, calling the fire "out of the ordinary".

Risk of pollution of the Seine by overflow of retention ponds

One can also fear a pollution of the Seine. "We continue to fight against fire with a risk of pollution of the Seine by overflowing retention ponds," said the prefect of Normandy Pierre-André Durand during a press conference on Thursday.

This huge fire broke out around 2:30 am in a factory warehouse, located about 3 km from the city center and Rouen Cathedral. It did not kill, but the prefecture took important measures to protect the inhabitants.

Asked about the scale of the industrial accident, the prefect assured that there was no "risk reduction" by the government. "If we had to confine, we would have confined, if we had to evacuate, we would have evacuated," he said. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner is on the spot and should arrive around 11:30.