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Ghent area hit by odour problems after fire in meat plant

© Brandweer Gent via Twitter

Members of the public in the Ghent area have been advised to keep windows and doors closed because of odour complaints following a fire in a meat-processing plant, the fire service said.

The fire broke out in a meat processing plant in the Ghent port area. Since the middle of last night the fire service has been receiving calls about the odour nuisance. The problem was traced to the plant.

The plant has completely burned out and there is a pungent smell in the surrounding municipalities such as Oostakker and Desteldonk,” said Alisa Coessens, spokesperson for the fire service.

That is why we are asking people to keep windows and doors closed in the region of Ghent, Destelbergen, Desteldonk, Lochristi and Oostakker.”

The fire service will continue hosing the fire for the rest of today to prevent the danger of flare-ups. Meanwhile they have been dealing with calls from the public about blackened pieces of material in the air.

The service issued an assurance the ashes are from insulation material and plastic packaging, and not from asbestos.

Elsewhere, Ghent is not the only city to be troubled by odour problems. For the second time in a month, residents in Antwerp have been complaining about a mysterious chemical smell pervading the city’s atmosphere.

The complaints, a spokesperson for the Antwerp fire service said, “concern an oil-like odour. Our teams always go on site to take measurements and look for the cause, but it has not yet been found.”

We are interviewing companies, in the port and beyond, because it is not normal for the stench of a company to come from the port,” said a spokesperson for Tom Meeuws (Vooruit), Antwerp city councillor for the environment.

It certainly doesn’t come from Total. They are not involved in processes there that could lead to odour nuisance.”

Last month a persistent petroleum-like smell was the subject of complaints from city residents. The origin has never been traced.