ROTTERDAM - is a big fire broke With a storage company in the Botlek area. More than a hundred firefighters try to prevent the blaze spreading to one of the other tanks in the area of ​​Pakhoed.

The fire rages in a tank with aviation gasoline (kerosine). There would be such 4,5 million liters in the tank.

The fire this afternoon around quarter past two occur in the pump into tank 252. The kerosene is derived from a tanker in the third Petroleumhaven.

By an unknown cause there was a big explosion in one of the tanks. Thereafter, there were flames from tens of meters to see high. Thick clouds of smoke still attract to the north from the grounds, direction Vlaardingen.

How exactly is the fire originated is unclear, was director Michael Cook Pakhoed know.

The fire department is trying to fight the fire extinguishing foam boats and cars. The fire is not under control and that could take a while too.


The fire department is trying to avoid above all that the fire spread to one of the other tanks on site. Er staan ongeveer 200 tanks containing flammable substances such as gasoline, gas- and oil. The closest is a tank with toxic Noryl nitrile.

The nearest tanks are emptied, as far as possible.

Vlaardingen has several loudspeakers cars ready to pull out, if escape toxic fumes. There has been no crossing over a possible evacuation, like the fire at fertilizer factory ENCK.


The city uses the existing flood control. If there is danger of some officials is put in key places.

"The main advantage of this scheme is, that all kinds of danger everyone knows exactly what it should do. Every disaster situation demands constantly much improvisation, but the basic measures, which are always needed, can be taken in the shortest possible time "

(Municipality spokesman Vlaardingen, the time, 15-01-1968)

Several companies in the Botlek warned its own staff for the situation. Some companies account was explosive.

Hoe ging het verder?

Evacuating the surrounding tanks was not a luxury onoverbodige. On Sunday also exploded a second tank, but which was already low. There was only a remnant in.

The fire was caused by a spark when gasoline vapors came into the tank above the kerosene. The damage was then estimated at a half million guilders.

Sunday afternoon, zo’n 24 hours after the start of the fire, the signal was brand master data. was avoid disaster, thought.

But there was no mention at all of an impending disaster, informed the Rotterdam alderman Sausage. He told a few days later asking half hour of the Rotterdam city council. Further details he had not, because the investigation was not ready.

The explosion at Pakhoed there was one in a series. In a few months there were several explosions.

A week later there was a huge hit at Shell Pernis. In addition, two people died. In almost all Hoogvliet and Pernis layers windows out.

read more: Conflagration at Shell Pernis refinery after explosion


The truth – 15-01-1968 – Botlek escaped major disaster

Het Vrije Volk – 15-01-1968 – Technicians: 'Through the eye of the needle crawled’

De Tijd – 15-01-1968 – Spark caused large tank fire

Text: Dave Datema

published: 13 januari 2018

story number: 58

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