A fire started at the metalworking company Umicore in Hoboken on Saturday. According to the Antwerp fire brigade, this was a limited fire and there were no injuries.
According to the first reports, the fire started in a room of about twenty square meters and the flames had spread to the roof. “The Antwerp fire brigade has the fire under control,” said spokeswoman Jasmien O. Gazet of Antwerp “There was smoke, but it was not a major fire.”
Anyone who suffers from any smoke should close windows and doors.
Lead in the blood
Umicore’s site has been hit by fires several times. The damage from the last fire, in March of this year, is still visible.
The company has also been in the news in recent weeks after children with children in the surrounding neighborhoods of Moretusburg and Hertogvelden increased lead values were established. Twenty children living around the site had more than 10 µg / dl of lead in the blood. The previous measurement, in the fall of 2019, involved only two children. No lead concentration is considered safe, but increased vigilance from 5 µg / dl is necessary.
The blood test revived the debate about the location of the factory. Does a polluting factory belong in a residential area? Luc Gellens, the director of Umicore, the question turned around last week. ‘People live here less than a hundred meters from the factory, so the least dust that blows over the fence can have an impact on their health. Then it would be best that there are no families with small children living in the area. Or it must be at a sufficient distance, and then I am talking about more than a kilometer. “
De Standaard also visited the local residents. Read the full report here.