A major fire burnt down a Boels depot/warehouse in Willich, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
Arson has not been ruled out for the fire in a 40 by 30 metre warehouse/workshop, which contained a range of rental machines, including aerial lifts everything was completely destroyed, around 150 firefighters fought to keep the blaze under control but only just managed to stop it spreading to adjacent buildings, including a gas cylinder store. The building was not cool enough to enter until Tuesday morning.
Two aerial work platforms from Mateco/Gardemann which were parked up some distance away, also caught fire, possibly from sparks or flaming material caught on the wind – or a further arson attack.
One line of investigation relates to the fact that Boels equipment was being used in controversial clearance work in the Hambach forest where demonstrators and activists recently lost their battle to frustrate the clearance work by RWE mining.
Boels has since announced that it would immediately withdraw its machinery from the Hambach Forest as the safety of its employees was at risk. Boels supplied some light towers and buggies, but not the platforms that were used to remove protestors from the trees. The company had apparently been facing threats to its staff for several days, when chief executive Pierre Boels said: "That goes too far for me. And as soon as the safety of my employees is endangered, I draw a line."
The move follows the earlier withdrawal of aerial work platforms from work in the forest, by Gerken, Cramer and Hundrup. While arson has yet to be ruled out the fire department has also not ruled out an electrical or other fault within the building.