Fire in Scrapyard on Panerių Street in Vilnius: Recommendations For Residents (Update as of 29 March: Air Quality Test in The Kindergartens Showed No Contamination)

Update as of 29 March: Air Quality Test in The Kindergartens Showed No Contamination

On 28th  and 29th of March, 2024, the National Centre for Public Health (NPHC) conducted air quality tests at three kindergartens in Vilnius which represent all the structures within the affected vicinity.

On 28th  March, laboratory tests indicated elevated levels of hydrogen chloride and hydrogen cyanide in indoor air at distances of 546 and 800 metres from the fire site on the leeside, was 0,50 mg/m3 (proposed concentration limit is 0,2 mg/ m3) and 0,027 mg/m3 (proposed concentration limit is 0,01mg/m3). Other tested chemicals including 29 volatile organic compounds and sulphur dioxide, were either detected at minimal levels or not found. Additionally, a nursery located 3.5 km away on the lee side from the fire showed a slightly increased level of hydrogen cyanide (0,026 mg/m3).

Subsequent indoor air tests on 29th March, conducted after thorough cleaning, ventilation etc.  following NPHC recommendations, revealed no presence of hydrogen cyanide. The concentration of hydrogen chloride had decreased to 0.11 mg/m3, within the permissible limit.

Laboratory tests showed that hazardous substances from the fire had entered the premises, but after the fire was extinguished and the NPHC recommendations on cleaning the premises were implemented,  the indoor air quality has improved significantly and does not pose a health risk to the occupants.


Update as of 28 March

According to the EPA, concentrations of particulate matter in Vilnius have significantly decreased, no longer posing a health risk to residents.

Please be aware that pollutants from the fire have settled along with the smoke in the areas through which it passed and it is essential to remove them. This can be achieved through wet wiping of surfaces such as outdoor terraces, indoor floors, and walls. We recommend laundering textiles (curtains, bedding, etc.). Chemical cleaners are not advised. Ensure thorough ventilation of the premises.

Today, NPHC is conducting indoor air quality tests in preschool establishments. Pending the test results, the recommendation to keep children away from educational institutions remains in effect, as announced by Vilnius City Municipality https://vilnius.lt/lt/2024/03/27/del-gaisro-paneriu-g-26-daliai-ugdymo-istaigu-vilniuje-rytoj-rekomenduojama-dirbti-nuotoliu/


Update: 22:30 pm, 27 March

NPHC intends to conduct air quality tests in educational institutions falling within the exposure zone modelled by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Update: 21:25 pm, 27 March

Given the highly toxic nature of fire smoke, educational institutions near the affected area are advised to continue their educational activities remotely to mitigate potential health risks. The list of affected educational institutions will be specified by Vilnius City Municipality following the laboratory test results conducted by environmentalists.


19:15 pm, 27 March

Following a fire outbreak in the scrapyard on Panerių Street in Vilnius, NPHC specialists remind that fire smoke can be hazardous to health.

If individuals outdoors observe dark smoke and detect a distinct odor, they are advised to relocate to the side where the wind would not direct the smoke towards them.  
People residing in the area close to where the fire broke out are advised against venturing outside and encouraged to keep vents, windows, and doors tightly shut when remaining indoors. If your residence is equipped with mechanical ventilation, heat recovery or air conditioning systems, it is advisable to deactivate them. Cover wells and refrain from utilizing the water for consumption. Ensure animals are not left outdoors. Should you experience any symptoms of illness, prompt medical attention is strongly recommended.

It is advised to tightly close car windows when driving through the affected area.

Symptoms of acute exposure to pollutants include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, shortness of breath, coughing, impaired lung function (especially in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), increased susceptibility to respiratory tract infections (especially in children), and exacerbation of allergic inflammatory reactions in the respiratory tract.

Information will be updated.