“We feel a lot of anger, it’s been burning since the day after Christmas anyway!”, Sums up Nathalie Galand, referent of the France nature environment association (FNE) for this town of 8,000 inhabitants.
On the edge of the Etang de Berre, some fifty kilometers from Marseille, Saint-Chamas, with its small fishing port and its nature reserve, had hitherto felt rather “spared” by pollution, despite its proximity to the enormous industrial-port area of Fos-sur-Mer, one of the largest in France.
Until the fire – which is the subject of a police investigation – of the company Recyclage Concept 13, which stored waste brought by industrialists in order to sort it and then resell it to recycling companies.
Twelve days after the fire started, the site looks like a “war zone”, in Nathalie’s words. The 3,200 m2 storage warehouse was completely destroyed and the metal roof collapsed on a mountain of waste six meters high.
In a cloud of unbreathable smoke, the firefighters fight against this fire “smoldering” in the garbage. Thursday, they hoped to come to the end of the fire, “by the end of next week” according to Lieutenant-Colonel Pierre Bisone. The prefecture forced the company to have the building demolished so that the firefighters could finally have access to all the waste.
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