Crews of the fire service disaster response unit Emak have been trying to prevent an acetylene cylinder at the Vassiliko cement factory that went up in flames at around 2.30pm on Wednesday from exploding by cooling it down, the spokesman of the fire service Andreas Kettis said.
According to reports an acetylene cylinder caught fire while workers at the factory were welding a metal fence. The cylinder that is used for welding is connected to a second cylinder containing oxygen. As soon as the cylinder caught fire, the workers alerted the fire service that sent four engines to put out the blaze. Two engines, however, remain on site, as firemen are cooling the acetylene cylinder, to eliminate the possibility of it exploding or reigniting.
Acetylene is a highly flammable substance widely used as a fuel and a chemical building block. It is also used in welding, cutting, brazing and soldering.
Kettis said that the firemen on site were monitoring the cylinder with a thermal camera. “The situation is being monitored and the cooling on that cylinder will continue for several hours.”
This is the second fire caused at the cement factory in the last three weeks. Earlier in the month, the fire service averted a catastrophe after managing to put out a huge fire that broke out close to the cement factory, but also to the VTTV oil depot and an electricity authority (EAC) substation.
The fire service was notified on the night of July 5 that a fire had started in a pile of wood and old tyres near the cement factory which took until lunchtime the next day to bring under control. According to the fire service, the blaze was most probably caused by combustible renewable biofuel (RBF) that was stored near the piles of wood and old tyres.