A tool used to cut waste material and tires malfunctioned causing a massive blaze at a dumpster between the Mari and Kalavasos communities yesterday, as toxic clouds, fanned by strong winds, reached the Larnaca airport and the Famagusta district.
‘It was an unfortunate incident’, said environment department director Costas Hadjipanayiotou, one of the first to rush to the scene of the fire which broke out just after two and is still burning, as exhausted fire crews working through the night were replaced this morning.
The fire is under control and there is no danger of spreading, but has yet to be put out due to the nature of the materials burning. Eight crews with 25 personnel are operating at the scene, supported by Larnaca district.
Residents of surrounding communities are advised to remain at home, as the public health hazard remains.
Hadjipanayiotou noted that the specialised tool used for cutting, ignited the materials, quickly leading to the pile lighting up and causing massive black toxic clouds, spreading for dozens of kilometers, polluting the atmosphere.
According to Hadjipanayiotou, the licensed private company managing the dumpster-mostly for tires-placed the materials pile as instructed and agreed, most importantly creating safety strips between the waste.
He further pointed out that the toxic clouds were at an altitude, not affecting ground quality of air.