LAAKIRCHEN, Austria , Sept. 25, 2015 (Press Release) -A fire on the PM10 paper machine did not cause any injuries and there was no impact on either the environment or the neighbourhood. The evacuation was quiet and orderly. The extinguishing systems functioned. Upon arrival in Laakirchen, an external team of experts started work at once.
At 5:51 p.m. on September 24th, an employee discovered and immediately reported a fire in the PM10 paper machine. The alarm chain functioned perfectly and the building was evacuated in a quiet and orderly manner. No employees were injured, but there was dense smoke on the drive side of the machine and subsequently flames spread in this area. The extinguishing systems functioned and the alerted emergency services were able to fight the fire from several angles with the result that it was brought under control relatively quickly. In spite of the thick smoke, at no point in time was the neighbourhood endangered and there was no impact upon the environment.
The cause of the fire and the precise extent of the damage are yet to be determined. The second paper machine, the PM11 was not damaged and was shut down during the fire fighting activities. In the meantime, the PM 11 has resumed production.
Following the "fire out" signal from the fire services, the local authorities, the public prosecutor's office, the Labour Inspectorate and CID detectives started initial investigations in cooperation with the company. Member of the Management Board, Franz Baldauf: "Nonetheless, in addition to the local authorities, we immediately commissioned an external team of experts with the analysis of the fire and its possible causes."
The expert team consists of external specialists from the production, quality management and safety areas and will be working closely with the local authorities.
Franz Baldauf: "For us, dealing with this incident and the discovery of its causes are of enormous significance. We regard this matter as being extremely serious and wish to take the correct decisions as quickly as possible in order to adopt measures that will prevent such an occurrence in future." As soon as the investigations are concluded the results of the local authorities and the external expert team will be compared and further measures agreed jointly.
A precise estimate of the damage and the amount of time that the affected paper machine will be out of service is currently infeasible. At present, Heinzel Paper customers are being informed about possible delivery delays and redeployments.