France: Explosion at Soufflet malt house

On Wednesday at around 11:30 am, Malteries d'Alsace a unit of Malteries Soufflet in the Port du Rhin district of Strasbourg, France, was shaken by an explosion which caused a fire and alerted 84 firefighers in 39 vehicles. In addition about 40 police officers, including 6 municipal police officers, evacuated the area to prevent further damage from the neighborhood. All 33 staff members of the plant were also evacuated. No one was injured.

According to Dominique Schuffenecker, Chief of Staff of the Prefect of Bas-Rhin, the explosion took place in a hopper (a kind of inverted truncated pyramid-shaped tank) used to manufacture animal feed from malt residues.

Explosions and fires in grain silos are not uncommon in the industry.

Just one year ago in June 2018, another explosion had already occurred in the port area of Strasbourg, in a Silostra-Silorins grain silo belonging to French cooperative Comptoir Agricole, with the roof shattered. Four people were injured, three of them seriously. A spark generated by maintenance work caused at that time the explosion by igniting a cloud of dust.

Last August a fire destroyed one of four kilns with 30 tons of malt and the roof of the historic brick building of Mich. Weyermann Maltings in Bamberg, Germany (, 9.8.2018). The same site was hit again on April, 26 this year when a smoking chamber suffered a technical defect and caught fire. Firefighters fought against the flames for hours.

The Port-du-Rhin district In Strasbourg, where Malteries d'Alsace is located, is changing its face in recent years. Residential buildings are growing like mushrooms all around the former site of the Coop Alsace, the Union des coopérateurs d'Alsace, a company liquidated in 2005. The industrial site, which occupies 20,500 m², is currently transformed into restaurants, cafés, exhibition spaces and concert halls which are planned to be open to the public at the end of next year.

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