Osijek Fire: What You Need to Know

Katarina Anđelković

osijek fire
Photo: Borna Jaksic/PIXSELL

October 4, 2023 – About 40 minutes after midnight, a fire broke out in the yard of the Drava International company in the Osijek suburb of Brijest. As the police reported, it is plastic mass and packaging that are burning. About 50 firefighters are putting it out, and in case you are in or near Osijek, here is what you need to know about the Osijek fire.

“Wir bitten die Burger, die Fenster zu schliessen und nicht nach draussen zu gehen, es sei denn, dies ist aufgrund der moglichen schadlichen Auswirkungen von Gasen aufgrund des Plastikbrands in Brijesto erforderlich”. That’s what my phone said this morning, on a huge pop-up screen that made it definitely look like a virus.

There was a Croatian translation of the alert in the background: “We urge citizens to close the windows and not go outside unless necessary due to the possible harmful effects of gases from the plastic fire in Brijest.” The message was sent out by the Croatian Civil Protection at 4 in the morning. Dragan Vulin, head of the Civil Protection, emphasized the same message, as Index reports.

warning in effect, Carcinogenic Substances in the Air

“The situation is extremely serious; this is a fire of unprecedented proportions in the area of Osijek. The report came about 40 minutes after midnight. Several thousand square meters of plastic stored in the open are burning.

The fire also engulfed part of the building. The fire is not yet localized.

It was an extremely complex operation, there were a lot of flammable gases and liquids that had to be moved,” said Dragan Vulin for HRT.

“The wind began to blow, carrying smoke towards the south. We sent a message through the system that people stay indoors as much as possible and close their doors and windows. The situation is somewhat worse in Antunovac and Ivanovac. Analyzes are being carried out, and so far, the data are not alarming. Everyone can go to work, and children can go to school, but let them not stay outside much. Plastic is burning, there can be a lot of carcinogenic substances in the air. The wind is currently blowing everything south of Osijek,” he added.

It Could Take Days to Extinguish the Osijek Fire

The exact cause of the fire is not yet known and will be determined by an investigation. The fire broke out away from the production facility, at the external plastic disposal site, said the head of civil protection.

“We are aware that, considering the size of the fire, putting it out could take several days,” added Dragan Vulin.

Osijek firefighters: “Our equipment is melting. This is hell, there is no other word for it”

“The temperature that the fire reaches is incredible, simply put, terrible; we can’t get closer than 30 meters because our equipment is melting. So far, we are all alive and well, but this is hell. There is no other word for it. I have never seen anything like this before”, said Boris Banjan, deputy commander of the Osijek Fire Department.

No school in some places

School was canceled for children from Čepin, Ivanovac, and some other places because the wind carries smoke and possibly dangerous air toward them. Children from Osijek were fine to go, HRT reported.

Thick smoke from the Osijek fire can be seen from Vinkovci and Vukovar

Foreign workers slept and worked in the company

Many foreign workers are employed in the company. They had accommodation on the site, so now they will be provided with alternative accommodation, HRT reported.

Stay Indoors as Much as Possible

“The recommendation of the Civil Protection Headquarters to all citizens of Osijek is to stay outdoors as little as possible as a precautionary measure, but all activities in closed spaces, such as classes, can take place as normal. The wind is currently carrying smoke to the south, away from Osijek,” stated the deputy mayor and the head of Civil Protection, Dragan Vulin.


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