May 13, 2018 | Anne Roberts

Remembering An Accident: Enschede Fireworks Disaster

On May 13, 2000 in the eastern Dutch city of Enschede a fireworks warehouse caught fire and lead to an enormous explosion. The explosion caused 22 deaths, with 4 fire-fighters among the causalities, another 974 individual were injured, and 500 homes and businesses were severely damaged and/or destroyed during the blast. After the dust had settled a 13 meter diameter, 1.3 meter deep crater could be observed where concrete round cells C9 and C11 – C 15 once stood. To create a crater that size it would take a TNT equivalent between 4 and 5 tonnes. The largest blast was felt up to 30 kilometers away (19 miles).


What makes this incident so interesting is the fact that whatever started the fire was never really discovered. Two possibilities seem to be the likely cause. One possibility discussed was arson. The Dutch police made several arrest, but none of whom had been arrested were convicted of arson for the Enschede Fireworks Disaster. The other theory comes from the fire department stating that accidental ignition via an electrical short circuit could have also been the cause of the fire.

Because of the incident and investigation results the fireworks disaster lead to stronger safety regulations in the Netherlands concerning the sales, storage, and distribution of fireworks. Since the catastrophe three illegal firework warehouses were closed down and the Roombeek area that was destroyed by the explosion has been rebuilt.


To read the full detailed report click here.

Major disasters are often wake-up calls for how important it is to ensure that they never happen again.

TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis is taught globally to help industries avoid them. Our 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training offers advanced tools and techniques to find and fix root causes re-actively and help identify precursors that could lead to major problems.

To learn more about our courses and their locations click on the links below.
5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training
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