Nine fire fighters were injured tackling a serious blaze that broke out Aug. 29 at a plant operated by Austrian plastics recycler Ecoplast Kunstoff-Recycling GmbH, south of the city of Graz, Austria.
Eight of the injured collapsed from extreme heat generated by the fire, which started among stored bales of plastic waste, Another fireman, suffering from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning was airlifted to hospital in Graz, reported local media.
A team of four doctors and 35 paramedics are reported to have attended the site during the incident.
More than 500 firefighters from 40 regional units were deployed to deal with the blaze which erupted at the Ecoplast plant near Wildon in soaring late summer temperatures.
A 100 meter plume of black smoke, 40 meters across, hanging over the recycling plant was reportedly visible 20 kilometers away in Graz. It took the fire brigade, which drew water from the nearby River Mur, around 24 hours to extinguish the flames and dampen down the fire.
Footage posted on YouTube by volunteer firefighters from the nearby city of Weitendorf showed the extent of the fire and the size of the smoke plume.
The big blaze which broke out in stacked bales stored outside, and partially damaged a storage building. Flames spread to trees surrounding the rural site and to undergrowth on the banks of the nearby River Mur.
“Extreme heat” threatened to burst a biogas tank, but a concerted effort by firefighters to cool the tank averted a serious explosion.
At one point, officials requested the attendance of a large fire truck from an airport fire brigade. An additional 5,000 liters of fire extinguishing foam had to be brought to the site to boost an initial 1,800 liter supply, according to media reports.
Police are investigating the fire's cause.
Ecoplast, which operates just the Wildon recycling site, processes 28,000 metric tons of post consumer plastics waste each year, producing high density and low density polyethylene recyclate there.