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Burning rubber

Cripes! Big, bad blaze last night. Down at Sundahöfn harbour, in a recycling lot. Immense piles of rubber tires, rubber tire bits, scrap metal and other mish-mash. All set to be transported out of the country (not to some obscure garbage dump at sea, one hopes), but unfortunately it caught on fire before that happened.

EPI and I had just finished watching our eagerly-awaited weekly episode of The Sopranos when a white line of lettering moved slowly across the screen – the kind of slow-moving text that lets you know that SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY WRONG. So we went into a mfuddle trying to figure out where to turn for news (radio? online? tele-text?) and finally were able to piece together what had happened… raging fire, humongous cloud of black toxic smoke covering the immediate area, people being evicted from their homes. Evidently, this is the greatest number of people (around 600) ever evicted in Iceland, save for the volcanic eruption on the Westman Islands in 1973, when an entire island was evacuated.

EPI’s sister lives in the building that got the worst of it. She was evacuated, obviously, and had to spend the night elsewhere. She hasn’t returned home yet – but just now on the news they showed footage of others going home and the damage appears to be less than anticipated. The worst thing appears to be the smell – something YT can believe, because EPI and I had to close all our windows last night as a result of the smell – and we live 10 km away.

INFURIATING

Is that the recycling company didn’t even have a permit for their operations, the piles of junk were so massive that one of them spilled onto the roof of one of the buildings, fire authorities had sent them a warning earlier this year to which they had not adequately responded and there is PCB in the ground underneath, which it is now feared will be dissolved and leak into the sea. Very scary!

THE SILVER LINING

Is that the wind was in the ‘right’ direction (even if it did stink up our place). Had the all-too-common northerly winds prevailed, nearly 2000 people would have had to be evacuated, including a veritable village of the ill and elderly.

WARNING

Expect fall-out to continue here over the coming days.

WEATHER

Well, we got everything they promised: mild temps (currently 7 degrees), lots of rain (handy for putting out fires) and slush galore. Sunrise was at 10.23; sunset at 16.05.

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