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One hospitalised, residents warned as factory burns in western Finland

A large meat-processing factory in North Ostrobothnia has been completely destroyed by fire. Firefighters are still working to extinguish the massive fire in Siikalatva, south of Oulu. Fire and rescue squads have been battling the blaze since Friday evening, and a warning of dangerous fumes was re-issued on Saturday.

Tulipalo Siikalatvalla
The fire began on Friday evening. Image: Jarmo Rajaniemi

Firefighters are working on Saturday to extinguish a massive industrial hall fire in Siikalatva, south of Oulu in Northern Ostrobothnia. The blaze broke out at the Kylmänen Food plant in the village of Rantsila around 7 pm on Friday. The adjacent Route 4 was shut down and local residents were advised to stay indoors due to potentially dangerous smoke.

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Rantsila is in Northern Ostrobothnia. Image: Yle Uutisgrafiikka
The building contains a large ammonia tank, which is in danger of rupturing.

The warning was lifted around midnight but then reinstated on Saturday morning as the fire regained strength inside the structure.

Fire chief Jouni Pummila tells Yle that about 60 firefighters with five fire trucks worked through the night to douse the flames on the exterior parts of the building – but because of the intensity of the blaze were unable to directly battle the fire inside it.

No serious injuries reported

At the time that the fire erupted, there were five employees inside the facility. Four of them left immediately, and the fifth emerged later.

"This worker was taken to hospital for an evaluation. The fire has not caused any serious injuries," says Pummila.

The fire in a 6,000-square-metre section of the building, and has spread into the upper parts of the structure. Kylmänen produces meat and other food products. Hundreds of thousands of reindeer, elk and pork carcasses were destroyed in the fire. Damages are expected to run into the millions of euros.

So far there is no word on the cause of the blaze.

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