Toxic smoke from a massive smoldering fire has triggered an evacuation in the Port of Antwerp. Firefighters are still battling the blaze, which produces “poisonous substances,” according to officials.
Some 5,000 tons of nickel sulfide caught fire in a warehouse of one of Europe’s largest seaports, the Port of Antwerp, on Saturday afternoon.
The smoke from the blaze, which engulfed a large area, may cause irritation and odor nuisance, police say.
“Poisonous substances have been released in the immediate vicinity of the seat of the fire,” the spokeswoman of the Antwerp Fire Department, Jasmien O, said as cited by local outlet Het Laatste Nieuws.
As the operation to extinguish the fire continues, authorities have introduced special safety measures in the area. Companies and vessels in a 1.8-kilometer perimeter were evacuated. Inland navigation and car traffic in the vicinity of the site have also been stopped.
Police advise locals to shut doors and windows and switch off ventilation in houses and cars and seek medical assistance if they feel symptoms of intoxication, including burning eyes or coughing.