tesla giga berlin cardboard fire prompts critics to demand production halt

Fire broke out on the premises of Tesla Gigafactory Berlin, prompting longtime critics of the Germany-based electric vehicle factory to call for an immediate halt to the plan’s activities. The incident happened on early Monday morning.

Fire departments from the municipality of Grünheide were requested by Giga Berlin’s plant fire department at 3:33 a.m. on Monday. Upon arriving at the site, firefighters found that a pile of cardboard was burning. Information from the Regional Office Oderland indicated that several fire departments from Grünheide were mobilized to address the blaze.

In comments to MOZ.de, firefighters noted that about 800 cubic meters of paper, cardboard, and wood were burned during the incident. Firefighters also used water with a foam agent to extinguish the flames. “It is being investigated whether shredding work had started the fire,” police said of the incident. Forensics are on the site to investigate the blaze, though no injuries have been reported.

Overall, it took about 50 firefighters — including 12 from Giga Berlin’s own fire department — to address the cardboard fire.

The fire broke out in the northeastern section of the Giga Berlin complex. District fire chief Klaus-Peter Schulz noted that a small recycling facility is in the area, though Tesla has commissioned a company to conduct the recycling activities. “There, packaging material is recycled and shredded on the spot,” Schulz said.

While the blaze was addressed and there were no injuries resulting from the incident, longtime Giga Berlin critics have taken it upon themselves to use the fire as a reason to call for a halt in the plant’s operations. The citizen’s initiative (BI), for one, called for an immediate stop of Giga Berlin’s vehicle production.

“Our worst fears have come true. We demand a production stop until the causes and circumstances have been clarified, and all safety-relevant measures in the water protection area have been implemented,” Steffen Schorcht of the BI noted.

The Strausberg Erkner Water Board (WSE), another organization that has been critical of Giga Berlin, also reacted to the incident with “great concern.” In a statement to MOZ.de, WSE head André Bähler noted that images from the incident show that Giga Berlin is a risk to the area’s groundwater.

“So, what can be seen there clearly confirms that extinguishing water seeps into the unpaved area. Considering the fact that the groundwater is unprotected at the site — i.e., without a water-impermeable cover — we see this with great concern,” Bähler said.

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