The fire is still burning and there is a high risk of explosion, is obstructing the work of the firefighters. A cloud of toxic smoke has engulfed the area.
The fire started on Saturday evening. Residents in around a hundred houses in the are were evacuated as the smoke drifted away from the scene.
There are several companies in the industrial unit which is burning, and stores of sulphuric acid, lye, acetylene and other chemicals are said to be threatened.
The rescue services have instructed all nearby residents to remain indoors and to keep doors and windows closed.
On Sunday morning over 20 firefighters from two stations were tackling the burning building, which had collapsed in on itself.
The fire is still raging but due to the explosion risk no attempt has been made to get up close to put it out. Instead, firemen are trying to prevent it from spreading to other buildings, including an office complex.
Michael Jernström, who lives in a house 75-100 metres from the fire scene, said that “it feels like the smoke is poisonous”. He and his wife Anna-Karin were two of around fifty people who were taken to Kumla school after they were evacuated. There they were offered temporary accommodation.
According to Thomas Winnberg at the rescue services, there were several explosions during the night and the risk of more is still high.
“There have been explosions the whole time. There are gas canisters there which are blowing up. They can fly several hundred metres and split, that’s the problem,” he said.
“We haven’t been able to put out the fire in the main building – it was so fierce by the time we got there. We were forced to evacuate immediately. The cordoned off area goes for us too.”
According to firemen at the scene, the building could burn down completely on Sunday but the no-go area will remain in place until Monday morning since the gas canisters could explode later.
“The majority who were evacuated have been staying with friends or relatives and have been sensible about getting themselves to safety,” said Winnberg.
The largest part of the burning building is used by a company called Eloxal, which treats aluminium products. Managing director and owner Jon Fangel, who is currently in Paris, told TT that the most important thing is that nobody is injured in the fire.
“But it’s obviously a tough blow for us. We are a production business, and without production you have no business,” he said.
Fangel estimates that the fire will have caused damage worth “many tens of millions of kronor”.