Fire in climate room at Biobest: accurate response prevents extensive damage

On Saturday evening, fire erupted in a climate room at the Biobest headquarters in Westerlo. The fire was presumably caused by a defective switchboard. Biobest has staff on-call 24/7. Their fast and accurate response and the rapid intervention of the local fire brigade, prevented expansion of the fire. No damage was done beyond the climate room for mite production in which the fire erupted. The company expects that clients will not be affected by this incident.

Peggy Bogaerts, member of the R&D team and on-call during this weekend: ”I received an automatic warning on Saturday evening. I could see immediately that the temperature in one climate room was increasing dramatically. Therefore, I immediately called Joris Lievens, a member of our technical department. Our procedures call for a member of staff, living near the factory, to be on-call 24/7. We immediately went on-site. It was clear that the situation was really serious. Thanks to our regular training, I knew exactly what to do. We called the fire brigade and decided not to open the climate room. They arrived within minutes and we managed to contain the damage to the room where the fire started.”

Jean-Marc Vandoorne, CEO of Biobest: “I am extremely grateful to Peggy and Joris, the fire brigade and all our team members who came out on Saturday and Sunday to deal with this situation. One climate room has been destroyed, but beyond that there is no damage. I am fully aware that it is their commitment, their rapid and cool-blooded response and a good organization with clear procedures that helped us avoid a much greater problem. Of course, we are examining the root-cause of this incident and we will implement further preventative measures. The commitment of our staff and the redundancy in our production planning, which we built in to deal with extra demand or unexpected problems, will allow us to minimize the impact. I trust that we will be able to optimally guarantee the continuity of supply to our clients.” 

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