Spanish media report that a fire on Sunday, 16th November has destroyed the Campofrio meat products factory in Burgos, northern Spain. The fire in the 90,000m2 factory was reported at 06:40. Initial reports put the damage at €60 million. 1,000 employees are at risk of unemployment, since Campofrio announced it would take until 2016 to rebuild the factory.
Unfortunately the factory was not fitted with a sprinkler system and had combustible expanded plastic insulation in the walls, a known risk in refrigerated food processing and storage facilities and one which has led not just to financial losses but to fire deaths in the past. A further hazard was the presence of ammonia as a refrigerant. Ammonia is combustible and highly toxic. Fire-fighters claimed it contributed to the blaze. Fortunately fire-fighters managed to prevent a leak of ammonia from storage tanks and on this occasion nobody was hurt in the fire, although four people were hurt in traffic accidents connected with it. The city’s mayor, Javier Lacalle, ordered the closure of one of the city’s ring roads.