A private mobile phone video of the lithium fire in France, uploaded to Twitter January 16
20 Feb 2024

900 tonnes of lithium batteries on fire in French recycling plant north of Toulouse


According to local councillor Pascal Mazet in a statement on X, the fire started started on Saturday in a recycling plant owned by the French recycling group  SNAM in the city of Viviez, north of Toulouse,reports France24com. 

Le Monde reported that up to 70 firefighters were battling to get the fire under control. The prefecture of the city of Viviez said in a statement overnight that while the fire was under control on Sunday. Iit was burning slowly and was expected to last for several hours.

A security note for the recycling plant said warned that cadmium was likely to be emitted through fumes in the case  a major fire. However considering the behaviour of the fire and the fumes, there should not be any immediate health risk to the residents.  


This is the second major lithium-ion battery fire in France in a little over a year. 

As CTIF.org wrote on January 18th, 2023, there was a large explosion and fire at a lithium fire warehouse near the city of Rouen, Normandie, on January 16th.  

At least 100 firefighters and 60 fire engines are reported to have been fighting the fire. 

The fire reportedly began at around 3:50 pm on January 16 at the Bolloré Logistics warehouse at boulevard de l’île aux Oiseaux in the Normandy city of Rouen.

According to the news site TheDeepDive.ca, firefighters on the call reported that the fire first started in a storage area containing lithium batteries. It is estimated around 8,000 lithium batteries have been destroyed. The fire then spread to a nearby storage facility contained about 70,000 rubber tires.

According to EuroWeeklyNews, the fire was the result of an explosion at a facility belonging to Bollore Logistics, and which reportedly contained thousands of lithium batteries. A third fire started during the night at a third storage space on the same site, belonging to the Ziegler company and housing textiles, Reuters reported.

People working in the the facilities were quickly evacuated during Monday night, and no casualties were reported. The prefecture explained that it might take several hours to extinguish the massive fires, but reassured the people that the fumes were not toxic.

Lithium-ion batteries are in a lot of devices: in our old electric razors, our computers and our vacuum cleaners. Consumers often throw these devices away without much thought as to where the batteries will end up. This can be very dangerous, since when these batteries are crushed, they can catch fire and explode. The batteries are to blame for major fires that have broken out at French waste disposal centres that recycle metal, despite the centres taking measures to protect their staff and facilities. 

FRANCE 24's Olivia Bizot reports from several of these lithium-ion battery fires in this video below: