Regarding the incident of a fire at the Kefalonia Foundry during the afternoon hours of Saturday, September 5, 2020, the Protection Policy of the Municipality of Argostoli took the following actions:
SIGNIFICANT EVENT EVOLUTION AND CONTINUITY OF MEASURES TAKEN
- From the first hour of the fire, they received an order and went immediately to the site of the foundry the 3 fire trucks of the Municipality and 2 aquifers with a crew of 8 people in total, in order to assist the firefighting work of the Fire Service.
- Saturday 05-09 at 05:00 in the afternoon, the Deputy Mayor of Civil Protection convened an on-site meeting to assess the situation and choose a method of extinguishing the fire. The meeting was attended by the Commander of the Fire Service, the Mayor of Argostoli and the President of EDAKI SA. In terms of assessing the situation, from the first hours of the event the following critical features were evident:
- The spread of the fire was very fast due to the intensity and direction of the wind but also the nature and quantity of the fuel. Within a few hours the fire had spread to the whole of the 2nd Cell of Waste Disposal of the landfill with a total area of approximately 36 acres (including the sloping surfaces of the Cell).
- The fire was creeping with a tendency to turn into an underground fire on the slopes of the Second Cell.
- Under these conditions, the method of extinguishing the fire by splashing water was deemed unsuitable in terms of its effectiveness. In addition, there was an increased likelihood that fire water would significantly affect the stability of the waste piles as it was absorbed by porous materials, making their subsequent approach by heavy vehicles difficult and dangerous.
- The application was decided using the Special Instructions for the Safe Management of Incidents in Landfills – Waste Management Facilities with the Code Name: ATLAS DESIGN, issued by the Ministry of Civil Protection. The method of ground cover was chosen as the most effective and convenient method of extinguishing this fire.
- The business zone and the security zone were demarcated.
- The following immediate goals were set:
- the prevention of the spread of the fire in the First Cell and in the other facilities of the Foundry
- the prevention of the spread of the fire outside the boundaries of the landfill site in the adjacent forest areas
- the immediate start of the ground cover process.
- On the afternoon of Saturday 05-09, around 18:30, the soil sampling started (Objective 3rd) and the transfer of the soil material to the B ‘Cell from a soil sampling field at a distance of 1,100m east of the foundry. At the same time, part of the fence at the Southeastern end of the landfill was demolished and a second entrance was created for the approach of the trucks transporting the earth embankment materials. At the same time, the embankment of the upper seat of the Cell began with the use of special construction machines.
- On Sunday 06-09A second soil sampling field was excavated and activated at a distance of 350m from the foundry. In the two excavation fields, 4 excavation sites were activated and operated simultaneously with the respective excavation machines.
- The transfer of the soil material was carried out with the assistance of 12 trucks with a capacity of 15-16m3, each. At the same time, in order to avoid delays in the transportation of the material, a new road section was opened inside the area of the foundry at a short distance from the foot of the Second Cell in order for the course of the trucks to acquire a circular shape. This measure significantly accelerated the rate of transport of soil material.
- Access to the North and West part of the AD Cell (Objective 1st) was formed with the use of Construction Machinery for its better protection and the prevention of the spread of fire in it. The fire did not spread to AYKyttaro and the other facilities of the foundry, but was limited to B ‘Kyttaro.
- With the use of Construction Machinery, a fire zone was formed around the landfill (Objective 2nd) to prevent the spread of fire outside the boundaries of the business area and to protect the adjacent forest areas. The fire did not spread outside the boundaries of the foundry.
- The force that was recruited and used in trucks transporting earth materials, digging machines, compaction and paving machines, fire trucks, water tanks, etc. approached the carrying capacity of the road network of the immediate area of the foundry as well as the front of landfill disposal. It is estimated that the use of more means of transport and laying would not be possible or useful.
- On Sunday 06 -09-2020, due to the dispersion of the cloud of combustion products to residential areas, instructions were issued to the General Population and made public by the Municipality of Argostoli by all appropriate means. Two telephone numbers were made available to the public for information.
- At the same time, HEDNO was called to the site of the foundry to cut off the supply of electricity to the Medium Voltage network of the area, for security reasons.
- On Monday 07-09, Tuesday 08-09 and Wednesday 09-09,The earth cover, compaction and sealing of the 2nd Cell continued in the direction from the Southern end of the 2nd Cell to its Northern end. The gradual reduction of the emitted smoke due to the ground cover gradually opened the working front and accelerated the process of sealing the Cell.
- Thursday morning 10-09The sealing of the entire upper seat of the Second Cell, with a total area of about 30 acres, where the main surface of tobacco and combustion products was, had been completed. It is estimated that at the end of the sealing of the upper seat of the Cell the emissions of combustion products were reduced by 95% compared to the emissions of the first day (reference day). On the same day, part of the slopes on the east side of the cell was sealed.
- On Thursday 10-09 and Friday 11-09, the necessary assistance was provided to the researchers of the National Center for Research in Natural Sciences “Demokritos” for the safe placement of atmospheric quality measuring stations within the administrative boundaries of the Municipality of Argostoli. The results of the measurements are expected.
- On Friday 11-09, on Saturday 12-09 and on Sunday 13-09, all the slopes of the Second Cell were sealed, where they showed scattered, low-intensity smoke emissions in places. The sealing of the northern part of the slope presented particular technical difficulties due to the very steep slope of the ground and the large altitude difference (altitude difference of more than 18m).
- On Monday 14-09, The filling of the Cell with additional soil material was continued for its better stabilization. At the same time, small technical works (small embankments, ditches, etc.) were carried out to drain rainwater to avoid damage in case of rain.
- Finally, on Monday 14-09, an autopsy was performed at the landfill by the Commander of the Fire Service and the Deputy Mayor for Civil Protection of the Municipality of Argostoli and the total end of the incident was certified.
ACTION EVALUATION AND SUGGESTIONS FOR THE BEST RESPONSE TO THOSE INVOLVED IN SIMILAR EVENTS
- The size of the fire at the Kefalonia foundry is characterized as particularly large. During the first hours of the event, the fire spread to an area of 32,000m2 (correct cell projection) while the flammable surfaces of the ideal cell solid (upper seat and slope) add up to over 36,000m2.
- The 1st Objective which was set to avoid the spread of the fire in A ‘Kyttaro and in the other facilities of the foundry was achieved, as the measures taken (arrangement of fire brigade and Municipality of Argostoli, opening new accesses to A’ Kyttaro etc.) proved to be effective.
- The 2nd Objective which was set to prevent the spread of the fire outside the boundaries of the landfill in the adjacent forest areas was achieved, as the measures taken (opening fire zones, fire brigade and the Municipality of Argostoli, installation of 24-hour shift surveillance etc.) effectively prevented the fire.
- The 3rd ObjectiveIn order to extinguish the fire with the method of ground cover was achieved in a period of 8 twenty-four hours. 95% of releases. In the last 5 years, 64 similar fires have occurred in landfills, HADA and KDAW in various parts of the country (see EVENTS ANNEX). In most cases the extinguishing of these fires due to the combustion material (waste) took several weeks.
- In order to improve the time of achievement of the 3rd Objective, for the future the following measures are proposed by the Civil Protection of the Municipality of Argostoli to the Management Body:
- In each active solid waste disposal cell of a size corresponding to that of the Second Cell, the Managing Authority should provide in the immediate vicinity a loan chamber of earth materials 8,000 – 10,000m3 immediately available for earth cover. This quantity will be able to cover the earth cover needs immediately until the external earth fronts are set up and activated. At the same time, the smoke emitted will be reduced at a faster rate than the first twenty-four hours.
- Waste Cell Slopes should not be sloping more than 20%. At greater slopes, the phenomenon of rolling of ground cover products occurs, as a result of which the sealing process becomes significantly more difficult.
- During the life of an active Waste Cell it is advisable to adopt the method of gradual sealing of slopes and their restoration by planting. As the height of the Cell increases over time with the successive dumping of waste, there is no reason for the slopes to remain unsealed and without vegetation restoration from the base of the Cell to the top. In particular, it is recommended that there be no unsealed slopes with a height of more than 5m.
- Taking the above measures is estimated to be able to reduce the time to achieve the 3rd Objective by half, in cases of events of the magnitude of the event of 5 September 2020.
Finally, the Civil Protection of the Municipality of Argostoli wants to thank all those who contributed to dealing with this particularly difficult event. In particular, he would like to thank the leadership and staff of the Fire Service of Kefallinia & Ithaca for their substantial contribution to reducing the effects of the fire as well as the staff of the Civil Protection of the Municipality of Argostoli.