ROTTERDAM - In a store chemicals near the Spangen district this morning cause fire. Because wind was northeast, The smoke was not blown away that ward, but go across the river.

in Heijplaat, Pernis, Hoogvliet and Spijkenisse air raid was heard and people were out for hours from their home. Certainly Seventeen people have been taken to hospital with breathing difficulties.

The fire at the CMI Keilehaven morning looked particularly menacing. There was a reddish-brown smoke from the warehouses of the company, caused by high concentrations of chlorine and hydrochloric acid.

The fire originated around quarter to eleven in shed 29 there is CMI. An employee had seen a large blue barrel had fallen on some barrels with calcium hypochlorite. The substance reacted with the environment, whereby heat was released. As a result, the pressure in the other vessels also increased. Within a few minutes followed the first explosion.

Because it was known that stored chemical substances layers CMI, has sent firefighters extra people to Keilehaven. Besides seventy four firefighters extinguishing boats were also deployed.


A short time later, stores the smoke to another pilot. Then there was a lot of smoke free. In the immediate vicinity of the shed were people working on a ship in the Lekhaven.

"I just saw fog, but it was not fog ", was one of the crew know to Radio Rijnmond. "It was a huge fire with smoke."

"So I immediately ran down and I got the chef. which began, like me, huge coughing. I work construction must wake. I went over to the superior, who still had his window open. The whole ship was scorched smoke. The outside was certainly not possible to breathe normally. It was really lucky that we could safely leave the ship. "

(from Baarlen,  Radio Rijnmond, 29-02-1996)

Five crew members of the ship are also transferred control to the hospital.

alarm system

Due to the north-east wind the smoke ended up in Heijplaat, Pernis en Hoogvliet. On Heijplaat was sounded an hour after the outbreak of Fire air raid. Shortly afterwards followed Pernis and Spijkenisse. Again a little later was to hear the alarm in Pernis.

"The feeling there really is affected by, in particular, hydrochloric acid,", fire chief told Timmer. "So once again the urgent request windows and doors closed to keep and stay inside. "

Mayor Pepper then had charge of the disaster itself taken. For the first time Radio Rijnmond was used as emergency channel.


Heijplaat was hours off from the outside world. People who wanted to enter the neighborhood, for example because they live there, were collected in the Wielewaal in Charlois. “There is a huge line at the phone, People who want to let the home know that they are here ", says reporter Anneloek Sollaert Radio Rijnmond.

Most people are pretty easygoing about situation. They make a nice afternoon, because "you have to do something '.


In the meantime, it is the greatest danger behind the back. To the Keilehaven only is still white smoke-free sheds CMI. But the is expected to damp down for days might take.

The question has now arisen how it is possible that such a large amount of chemical substances is stored near a densely populated neighborhood. “I went to have a look myself”, says SP MP Remi Poppe. “I really have to say that Rotterdam has escaped a disaster. If the wind had been the way it normally is, then the smoke was gone by Spangenberg. That had been a disaster. "

According to Poppe nobody had a clue what was now saved match CMI. "There may be stored both sugar and heavy chemicals there. But no one knew what was saved, how and where. And there must be an end. "

Pepper mayor announced that the Environmental Protection Agency Rijnmond (DCMR) a few weeks earlier still visited CMI. the company received quite a few comments about how substances were stored.

CMI has two weeks had the time to put everything in order. After those two weeks CMI asked for extra time. Who would not get it, which would mean a closure.

Hoe ging het verder?

Research has shown that in the fire approximately 90.000 kilos of toxic substances such as chlorine-, loodchromaat, hydrochloric acid and nitrogen dioxide are released in the fire.

The director of CMI is found guilty of negligence and causing the environmental disaster. He gets one year in prison and a fine a quarter of a million guilders.

But also by the municipality of Rotterdam it gets, because the monitoring CMI was not in order. Several insurers filed a lawsuit On. In 2004, eight years after the fire, court allows insurers to equal.

There follows an appeal in 2011, but then draws municipality on the shortest end. The company CMI is already 15 year bankruptcy.


RTV Rijnmond - Forgotten Tales - Russet smoke rises over the Rijnmond

Author: Dave Datema

published: 13 februari 2020

story number: 165