A new fire on the Renewi site, in Wandre (Liège)

A new fire on the Renewi site, in Wandre (Liège)
A new fire on the Renewi site, in Wandre (Liège)

Around midday on Thursday, a fire broke out on the Renewi (Coolrec) site in Wandre (Liège). Firefighters, police and civil protection went to the scene and around 2:30 p.m., fire crews were able to put out the flames. The City of Herstal indicated that civil protection had taken smoke samples and that there was no “had no toxicity rate in the fumes“.

The cause of the fire is believed to be linked to a “lithium problem”. A battery placed on a pile of household appliances apparently caught fire outside. Large smoke rose from the factory and was pushed by the winds towards Cheratte, in the commune of Visé. Neighboring towns alerted their citizens: “Close your doors and windows”.

A new waste fire in Wandre triggers a “Be-Alert” alert: “Keep doors and windows closed”.

The last fire on the site dates back to August 2023. It broke out on the night of August 22 to 23 and the fire crews worked long hours to extinguish the flames. It is “a show” to which nearby residents seem accustomed. Indeed, in 7 years, “no less than 10 fires affected Renewi and made the air unbreathable in Wandre, Cheratte and Sarolay”, denounced many citizens.

The SPW considers the request for extension of the Renewi site in Liège unacceptable as it stands: “We need measures to avoid repeated fires”.

As a reminder, in January 2023, the recycling company submitted a permit application for the extension of its activities in Wandre. In total, 1,376 complaints were made following the public inquiry. These mainly concerned the living environment of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Renewi is considering, among other things, the construction of two new roads, as well as the expansion of its parking lot, which would lead to an increase in traffic entering and leaving the site and, moreover, “an increase in noise pollution”. Noise pollution likely to become even more significant with new installations “noisy”, such as a shredder or a car wash for the company’s various trucks.

A fire broke out at the Renewi recycling company. ©MICHEL TONNEAU

To combat these nuisances, the delegated official indicated “that the installation of noise barriers could be imposed”.

The City of Liège had issued a favorable opinion on the project on the condition that the activity of grouping hazardous waste was not added to the site.given the difficulty in fighting the various fires”. Mayor Willy Demeyer indicated, last November, that he “would once again insist to the Minister of the Environment, Céline Tellier, that it is essential that additional measures be taken to secure the waste sorting process”.

Request for extension of Renewi to Wandre: conditional opinion from the City of Liège.

On the side of the City of Visé, the Municipal College had “requested an in-depth secure audit on fire risks and adequate means to prevent them”. An audit is also what the Ardent Green party is demanding. “It is essential to set up a municipal commission so that Recydel clearly explains the cause of these repeated fires and also the ways to avoid them.”, insists Caroline Saal. “Submitting a conditional notice is the first step, now we need solutions”, she concludes, convinced that “the safety of residents is a municipal responsibility and the City must take its responsibilities”.

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