Black clouds of smoke stretched over Brussels as Belgian waffle factory catches fire

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BRUSSELS — The sweet smell of waffles is familiar in Belgium but on Thursday, November 23 people were left choking as a fire at a waffle factory sent a dense black cloud across Brussels, disrupting road and rail traffic and forcing the evacuation of nearby factories and a school.

Police said the blaze at the Milcamps factory, which produces the national sweet treat in various regional variants, broke out at lunchtime. The fire originated in the cooling system and quickly spread. There were no reports of injuries.

A sharp smell of burnt waffle caused coughing in the city center, 6 km (4 miles), from the blaze.

Belgian waffles, traditionally sold from mobile vendors and street kiosks, have become popular around the world. They are batter cooked between hotplates patterned according to various regional traditions and dusted with icing sugar.

Their history dates back to the wafers baked for Mass in the medieval monasteries of the Low Countries.

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