A fifth of the company Riche group has gone up in flames, said Raymond Douniaux, mayor of Couvin. He was still at the zoning industriel de Mariemburg (Couvin, province de Namur) at midday, where the large fire at the company’s premises is located. Riche is a specialist in wood. The company has been engulfed by flames since around 4am. Around forty men from the Couvin, Chimay, Florennes, Philippeville, and Cerfontaine fire departments have been working since around 4am with civil protection agents. Two helicopters were also used to douse the fire with water.
“Looking at the size of the fire, we can say that the firemen almost have control of the situation”, commented Raymond Douniaux. However, the fire is not yet beaten and the fireman will stay vigilant for a while. The biggest area of fire was around a store of 1,000 tonnes of logs in a hangar. “Everything is gone and the roof has fallen in”, the mayor explained.
The company is spread over several thousand square metres, and a fifth has gone up in flames. The damage amounts to 1,5 million euros. “The carpentry department has not been hit. The chalet construction department was slightly hit and can be up and running again soon”, added Raymond Douniaux.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde were due to visit the company on the 19th of November. The mayor does not know at this moment if the visit will go ahead. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The communal emergency plan that was put in place has been lifted.