Fire on a Saint-Esprit poultry site in Martinique: more than 1 million euros in estimated losses

Fire on a Saint-Esprit poultry site in Martinique: more than 1 million euros in estimated losses
Fire on a Saint-Esprit poultry site in Martinique: more than 1 million euros in estimated losses

We know a little more about the origin of the fire which ravaged the technical room of a chicken breeding operation on Friday September 29, 2023, in Saint-Esprit, Peter Maillet district. It was the explosion of a photovoltaic battery installation that caused the disaster and caused fear among the neighbors. The damage is estimated at more than one million euros.

In the Peter Maillet district of Saint-Esprit, the explosion was felt by at least 300 homes around the site, according to initial feedback from the Territorial Fire and Rescue Service (STIS).

This is where the disaster occurred on the night of Friday September 29 to Saturday September 30, 2023, consecutive according to the first elements, to the explosion of a lithium battery, in the technical room of the SICA Madras poultry farm. Firefighters were still on site early in the morning.

The closest homes had windows blown out, causing some residents to be stunned and evacuated.

Windows damaged by the explosion

©Fabienne Leonce

The explosion required the intervention of around twenty firefighters from the François, Ducos, Rivière-Salée, Vauclin and Fort-de-France barracks, supported by EDF agents in order to secure the area and have complete control of the situation after 3 hours.

The flames hit a storage module in which 400 other batteries were in operation. The installation was first neutralized by EDF agents, then the perimeter of the disaster was secured to prevent inhalation of toxic gases from the burning batteries.

For this type of intervention, water is first used to install a curtain to protect local residents from toxic fumes. It is with powder and foam containing extinguishing products that the fire is brought under control, explain the speakers.

The container housing the batteries exploded

©Fabienne Léonce

Firefighters do not yet have a precise intervention protocol because the battery explosion is a recent phenomenon. The risk is emerging and growing with the increasingly frequent installation of photovoltaic farms and the expansion of the electric vehicle fleet. “This type of disaster is not isolated” they add.

Firefighters fear these explosions because the blast effects are significant due to the hydrogen in the batteries. We will carry out rounds for 15 days as a precaution and for feedback.

Commander Christophe, head of the risk and fire management group

(interviewed by Corine Jean-Joseph and Fabienne Léonce)

The neighbors of the disaster were hot, as were the chickens on the farm. The latter is no longer supplied with electricity at the moment. The energy storage device produced by the photovoltaic panels is completely destroyed and the financial losses are of the order of a million euros according to initial estimates.


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