Fire controlled, water contaminated after large chemical explosion shocks Melbourne factory

2024-07-10 12:40:28 GMT2024-07-10 20:40:28(Beijing Time) Sina English

Reuters

Flames and smoke rise from the site of a factory fire in Melbourne, Australia, July 10, in this still image obtained from a social media video.

Authorities provided an update on Wednesday about a major blast and subsequent fire at a factory in Melbourne's west, saying that the blaze was brought under control but left a nearby creek contaminated with chemicals.

At around 11:20am local time on Wednesday, emergency services rushed to Swann Drive in Derrimut in response to a significant factory fire sparked by a chemical explosion.

"Specialist appliances are on scene, including aerial appliances. A community advice warning has been issued for Albion, Braybrook, Brooklyn, Derrimut, Laverton North, Sunshine, Sunshine West, Tottenham, Truganina," Fire Rescue Victoria said.

Shortly after the incident, a "Watch and Act" alert was put into effect for the impacted regions, urging residents to take shelter indoors immediately, as the wind was blowing "toxic smoke toward the East across Derrimut."

Located some 17 km west of Melbourne's central business district, Derrimut is home to more than 8,000 residents, with the suburb's Swann Drive connecting several distribution centers and warehouses.

A large plume of smoke was spotted drifting over the eastern and western suburbs of Melbourne, with Victoria's Environment Protection Authority calling on locals to minimize time outdoors when smoke is present.

At around 3:32pm local time, the fire authority announced that the fire was deemed "under control" by the efforts of more than 180 firefighters and various specialist equipment, including aerial appliances.

"Our crews have been working around the clock since 11:20am this morning and have brought this significant fire under control," said Fire Rescue Victoria Deputy Commissioner Michelle Cowling.

"There have been no reports of any injuries to staff or to any of the emergency services on site," Cowling noted.

The commissioner revealed that the involved factory contained a range of chemicals, including kerosene, fuel, methylated spirits, and ethanol.

As wastewater seeped into Cherry Creek, Anderson's Swamp, and Kayes Drain following the industrial fire, people were urged to avoid contact with the water downstream of the fire location until further notice.

WorkSafe, Fire Rescue Victoria, Victoria Police, and other agencies are working together to fully investigate the cause of this incident. It will also take the coming days for fire crews to fully extinguish the fire.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the fire broke out at a site run by the chemical blending manufacturer ACB Group, the same place where a worker died in a chemical explosion last year.

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