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Residents of Brussels have been holding their noses after a dense cloud of smoke darkened the sky over the city. The fire at a waffle factory led to delays on routes into the Belgian capital, and prompted amused tweets.
A blaze at a factory making traditional Belgian waffles produced a plume of thick smoke that caused severe disruption around the Belgian capital on Thursday.
Reduced visibility and noxious fumes caused delays on local highways, with officials advising motorists to take precautions against the fumes.
"A lot of smoke has been emitted and we are advising people to keep doors and windows shut and to stay inside. Drivers should close air vents in their cars," local police said.
No-one was thought to have been injured in the fire. The Eurostar train line, linking Brussels to London and Paris, was among the routes affected by the brief stoppage of rail traffic from the busy Gare du Midi central station.
Twitter users couldn't help but marvel at how clichéd the situation appeared to be, given that waffles are a hallmark of Belgian cuisine and culture
Some 200 pupils had to be evacuated from a school near the site of the blaze, the Milcamps waffle factory in the southwestern Forest municipality. The burning smell was said to have been strong enough to cause coughing in the city center, some six kilometers (four miles) from the fire.
Waffles, batter cooked between hotplates, are produced at the factory in two main types; square light Belgian waffles and rounder sugary Liege waffles. While the cause is not yet known, authorities say the blaze might have started in a cooling system around the factory's ovens.
rc/jm (Reuters, dpa, AFP)