Three-Hundred-Thousand Tons of Sugar Burned
A FIRE AT ONE OF THE WORLD'S largest sugar terminals Friday morning has destroyed a warehouse complex and burned as much as 300,000 tons of raw sugar in Brazil.
The blaze occurred at the Copersucar terminal at Santos Port, not far from Sao Paulo. The hot fire spread rapidly through all six warehouses but was contained there by the firefighters. Reuters is reporting:
Santos port authority Codesp, which manages day-to-day operations at Brazil’s main port, said the fire started in the conveyor system, which transports sugar through Copersucar’s warehouses, around 6 a.m. Brasilia time (0900 GMT).
Television footage showed a three-story high mountain of sugar engulfed in flames inside a warehouse that had lost most of its siding and roof to the flames. Some of the overhanging conveyor belts that transport sugar between the warehouses and eventually to waiting ships appeared to have toppled over or were lying on the pavement alongside some of the warehouses.
Firefighters eventually contained the blaze, which could keep smoldering for another two days, said Codesp, noting that "facilities involved in the accident are totally destroyed."
When large stockpiles of sugar catch fire, it can be extremely difficult to extinguish quickly. As the sugar burns into the center of the mound it creates a carbonized outer shell that inhibits the penetration of water and chemicals that would otherwise snuff out the blaze.
Firefighters will also have the challenge of dealing with subterranean passages that connect some of Copersucar’s warehouses through which sugar is transported.
Brazil is the world's largest sugar exporter accounting for nearly half of the global output. This year's harvest has been a bumper crop so the price of raw, whiched spiked Friday because of the fire, is expected to return to normal levels as production picks up to fill the void. Copersucar's terminal is expected to be rebuilt and back in operation in about 8 to 12 months.
The Bangkok Post has MORE.
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