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Fire in Aubervilliers: why is the textile industry more prone to fires than others?

This is not the first time that Aubervilliers has been affected in this way.

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Fire in Aubervilliers: why is the textile industry more prone to fires than others?

This is not the first time that Aubervilliers has been affected in this way. On Tuesday, the warehouse of a company producing underwear from the lingerie brand Valege, in the city of Seine-Saint-Denis, suffered a fire so powerful that it was visible for miles away. round. And especially from the center of Paris. Employees of the warehouse, located at the corner of rue Sadi Carnot and avenue Félix Faure, evacuated the site as soon as the first flames arrived. If no injuries are to be deplored, the authorities are reassuring for the moment: the fire "should not present a toxic danger", indicates the prefecture. In the summer of 2020, fires had already broken out in another depot on the same street. But then why do these fires repeat themselves in the textile industry?

You should know that this sector is used to using different materials such as natural or artificial fibers for its production, a major source of combustion. “Fabric production involves many fire hazards. Sparks, glowing embers or overheated particles can be generated throughout the production chain and easily cause fires and dust explosions,” explains Fafus-grecon, a company specializing in fire prevention.

More specifically, "the main characteristics of textiles are their properties related to flammability, flame propagation, heat production and the release of toxic combustion products", traces, for its part, the Encyclopedia occupational safety and health. Textiles therefore present a fire hazard during their production and processing. For what ? Because "most synthetic fibers melt on heat, catch fire easily, burn intensely, sink when burning, and give off considerable amounts of smoke and toxic gases."

And as a study by the National Archives explains, these outbreaks of fires are nothing new in terms of labor history. “At the beginning of the 19th century, in northern, eastern and western France, where the textile industry was set up and mechanized at a forced march, fires numbered in the hundreds, specifies this document. While some are devastating, most cause only modest damage, but they nevertheless gradually shape the organization of work and the equipment of factories.

And to add: "Very quickly, the textile employers realize that the human factor must not be neglected: when the fire catches, it is often explained by the negligence of a worker who would have smoked in the workshop, would be asleep or would not have followed the instructions. If the fires continued for several decades, prevention policies in companies were then deployed from the middle of the 20th century. Visual campaigns or specific equipment then made it possible to reduce incidents and the risk of fire.

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