A fire has broken out at Vattenfall's Amagerværket (Amager) coal-and-biomass-fueled combined heat and power (CHP) station in Denmark, reports The Copenhagen Post.
As a safety measure, parts of the plant have been evacuated; however, a police official stressed there is no danger to nearby residents of the plant.
Donna Liley, Secretary of the Mossley Environmental Action Group in Lancashire, England said, "I saw a post about the fire on Facebook, and was immediately concerned that the police had said there was no danger. Wood dust has been classed as a group 1 carcinogen since 1995 by the IARC, International Agency for the Research on Cancer for the World Health Organization, and as there is no known safe level for exposure to a carcinogen, then there is surely a risk from smoke or dust from this fire or any other fire that contains wood."
The UK action group is striving to change government regulations to class wood dust as a health risk in ambient air as research indicates that communities worldwide suffer similar health effects of nose bleeds, headaches, nose and eye irritation and respiratory problems living alongside wood recycling, processing and manufacturing.
"Wood dust causes autoimmune diseases as well as being a cancer causing agent," said Liley. "We must alert the public."
Fire fighters remain on the scene to work on removing the wood pellets, but it remains uncertain how long the process will take. According to the article, the fire may continue to burn for several days.
“Our experience is that it can take a long time to fix it,” a police spokesperson was quoted. “It’s a warehouse full of wood pellets and, according to the latest reports, flames have been seen, which means it is actually getting worse.”
In May, The Copenhagen Post also reported an explosion at the Amager power station that injured three workers. The workers were part of a crew from an independent service company using a controlled blast method to loosen a clump of pellets stuck in one of the station’s silos.
The Amager power plant currently has two active units with a total electricity capacity of 319 MW and thermal power capacity of 583 MW.