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Silicon Factory Fire Caused by Broken Pipe

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Silicon Factory Fire Caused by Broken Pipe

United Silicon, Helguvík.

Photo: Screenshot from RÚV.

High-tension equipment came loose and led to the start of last week’s fire at the United Silicon plant at Helguvík, on Reykjanes peninsula, southwest Iceland. This is the conclusion of the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health, which has been investigating the fire which shut the plant down on April 18.

A high-pressure pipe connected to an electrode apparently came loose and came into contact with the steel structure of the building, RÚV reports. Bits of hot steel from the frame were then cast over the wooden floor, which sparked the fire.

Director of the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health Eyjólfur Sæmundsson says it is not yet clear why or how the pipe came loose and that the investigation is continuing.

Meanwhile, United Silicon has contacted the Environment Agency to say they will need to re-start the factory’s furnace in order to take the required pollution readings. The Agency has now responded, saying that the furnace may not be re-lit at this time. The furnace cannot be fired up until proper answers are given as to the source of the bad smell that emanated from the factory, and precautions put in place to prevent it.

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