Embers of Ultracargo fire flicker back to life

Embers of Ultracargo fire flicker back to life

Sao Paulo: And on the seventh day … it almost rested but not quite. The fire that has been burning at Ultracargo storage tanks near the Port of Santos in Sao Paulo was almost extinguished on Wednesday but then got a new lease of life.

Fuel and chemical products (mainly gasoline and ethanol) stored at the depot have given it plenty of material to burn for the past seven days since it ignited.

Scores of firefighters who have been playing a containment game with the blaze since Thursday April 2, thought it had almost spent itself on Wednesday but then high temperatures in one of the gasoline tanks caused it to revive.

The fire crews were optimistic on Wednesday that a chemical powder imported from Germany would help them finish the job. From at one point including six tanks ablaze, the inferno had been reduced to just one tank burning on Wednesday.

The Port of Santos, the largest in Latin America, has suffered some disruption as a consequence of the fire, with authorities restricting road access to certain areas of the port. This has had a knock-on effect of slowing the flow of grain and soy exports, although there was some relief on Wednesday when high way police escorted a convoy of trucks through one of the blockaded exits.

Six tanks with a combined capacity of 34,000 cubic metres (214,000 barrels) of ethanol and gasoline were damaged after the fire first broke out on Thursday, according to Ultracargo which is a leader in the field of bulk liquid storage in Brazil.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.

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