Events on 08.09.2021 at PHP Fibers in the Industrie Center Obernburg

In the afternoon of September 8, 2021, a fire occurred in an exhaust shaft at the PHP Fibers company in the Industrie Center Obernburg. The cause of the fire is still being investigated by the police. At present, everything points to a technical cause.

For residents in the direct vicinity, the fire was recognizable by a clearly visible cloud of smoke that drifted off in the direction of Obernburg-Eisenbach.

Numerous residents in this area were concerned by the purple coloration of the smoke. This coloration is due to traces of iodine. Iodine is used as a stabilizer in the manufacture of yarns. Even the smallest amounts are sufficient to cause the observed color in case of fire. Iodine is an element that has many applications and is also used as a disinfectant for wounds.

The comparatively strong development of soot in the smoke is due to the fact that only a small amount of oxygen was present in the burning exhaust shaft. At low temperatures, a larger amount of soot is produced. Air measurements carried out by the Erlenbach Fire Department at several points in the area affected by the smoke did not reveal any danger to citizens.

Later the same day, a leak of diphyl occurred at 10:50 p.m. due to the opening of a safety valve on the roof of the plant building. This is a heat transfer oil used to heat equipment. Comparable oils are also found in private households in electrically operated heating radiators.

Some of the heat transfer oil escaped in liquid form and could be absorbed and disposed of directly on site by the fire department using binding agents. Another part of the substance spread in the form of a vapor cloud in a northerly direction.

As a result, several calls were received from concerned citizens from various Maintal communities complaining of a nuisance odor.

Even the lowest air concentrations of diphyl can be perceived as an odor reminiscent of geraniums. A possible health hazard for the residents of the surrounding area is extremely unlikely at these concentrations.

We apologize to our neighbors and all those affected for the inconvenience caused and will do everything in our power to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at

Thank you!

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