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No change on the smoke front, so far. One moment you can see all the way up to the Uerdingen bridge, thirty minutes later it's impossible to make out your own frontgarden hedge.

A couple of minutes ago, I brought the firemen positioned in front of our house some coffee. They've been monitoring the situation all morning since 5.00 a.m., taking probes, watching the smoke.

Oh, and I've been interviewed by TV folks. Hopefully I didn't make too much of an idiot of myself. Hopefully the things I said won't be edited into something I don't recognize as I tried to keep my answers calm and non-sensationalist.

One of their questions: Aren't you worried by all the firemen in front of your house constantly monitoring the situation?

A: Well, I'd be more worried, if they weren't monitoring.
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At about 7.00 a.m. this morning  a fire broke out  on the storage grounds of a Krefeld fertilizer plant, only a few kilometers away from where I live, basically  the plant is situated just across the river.

So we've had quite an interesting day so far. Giant cloud of possibly poisonous smoke coming our way. Police cars driving down our road, making safety announcements and advising residents to keep doors and windows shut, and, if possible, to stay inside while the smoke was being tested for harmful substances.

While the fire is under control by now and a (very basic) all-clear was given sometime around noon, people are still advised to stay indoors. As I write this, white smoke is still hanging over the fields, almost foglike if it weren't for the smell, and the Uerdingen bridge across the Rhine is shrouded and closed to traffic.

I can't help but feel somewhat creeped, mostly because the road (basically just  a tarmac country lane) running past our house is so oddly quiet. Normally, at this time of day, there are always a handful of pedestrians and cyclists. People with prams, people with dogs, senior citizens enjoying a brief afternoon stroll to the nearby café.

Here's a German language article on the whole situation with several photos.

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