23 November 2009

Fire in Fyshwick - Photos

| Chris Mordd Richards
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[First filed: Nov 21, 2009 @ 9:47]

Smoke in Fyshwick

I was at work in Fyshwick today when we saw the fire just as it had started, as grey smoke was billowing into the sky and starting to spread out with the wind, as we watched the smoke thickened and started to blacken and a toxic smell was in the air that left a foul taste in your mouth. We saw 2 helicopters water bombing the fire at its height, when the smoke was a thick black pall, looked very toxic.

I was heading home shortly anyway and by the time I left work about 20-30 minutes later there was bumper to bumper traffic along the street I work on as the traffic was being diverted around, an entire section of Newcastle street being closed off, as well as the entire length of Barrier street.

(slideshow and more below)

I walked out via the route past bunnings out to Canberra avenue, and as I got up to Newcastle street itself within sight of the DFO building I could see traffic was absolutely packed and already choking up Canberra avenue as the traffic was pouring out of Fyshwick.

It looked like they had evacuated most of the suburb, as I was walking out I noticed some cars still heading in, and as I got to Canberra avenue the police were just in the process of actually blocking off all incoming traffic from Canberra avenue as well as the new road into the area east of the DFO, and I heard from other people the fire had apparently jupmed the road and the police were evacuating the entire suburb now.

Traffic was so packed along Canberra avenue I realised there was no point waiting for a bus, thankfully the very first person I tried to flag down stopped and gave me a lift most of the way back to Queanbeyan. It was pleasing in a situation like that even someone driving what looked to me like an expensive 2 seat sports car would stop and pick someone up.

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Picked up a copy of the CT today – my local newsagent hadn’t sent them back yet 🙂

Cletus – i read what you are saying, but it still makes no sense to me, fact is i took the photos so I can choose to do what I want with them, so go suck an egg 😛

Mordd, I don’t have a problem with anybody protecting their privacy. What I said was I have a problem with common sense.

Firstly, you have now said on here exactly where you work. If there was no mention of this (or no blacking out of the sign), then nobody would have known you worked there.

Secondly, the customers have parked there, in a public car park and with there number plates visible. How much expectation of number-plate-privacy do you think they thought they had? Were they wearing disguises for the walk into and out of the shops?

And yes, you’re perfectly within your rights to black things out and post these images of course. I don’t know how you thought I insinuated otherwise. Just like I’m perfectly free to criticise.

Cletus, the fact is in one of the photos that red sign that is blacked out has the full name of my work written on it, thats the main reason I blacked it out. As I said, anyone who knows Fyshwick even half well will still be able to work it out, I don’t have any problem with this. I am sorry you have a problem with me protecting my own privacy, as well as that of my workmates and customer, and TP 3000 also makes a point that had crossed my mind as well. Seeing as you are the only one who has thinks this detracts from the report though (from those who have posted here anywhere) im satisfied I did the right thing. Sorry for my rant everyone, maybe I should have explained in the article itself why I blacked out the photos.

@Gunghalin AI – I don’t see why the amount of coverage is a problem, its not every day a major fire like this occurs in the ACT and fact is we know now that it almost blew up a major gas line on newcastle street and could have potentially been of the biggest disasters in a long time. It was very different to normal boring old fyshwick for me and a lot of others as well obviously. I forgot to grab a copy of the CT but fact is by late friday night the Ct website was still the ONLY news site I could find through google other than RiotACT that even had a report about it (if you exclude sites like the ESA website), I am glad the CT apparently gave it so much coverage, hopefully I know someone who hung on to a copy of the paper.

I was passive-aggressively objecting to society going hyper sensitive about non-issues and lack of common sense. If you have concerns about personal privacy and freedoms, there are REAL issues that might be worth more attention.

Holden Caulfield10:45 am 23 Nov 09

Thanks for your account Mordd. I work near Canberra Ave and we were ripped off – we didn’t get evacutaed, haha. We only knew of the fire because we could see the smoke out the window and that prompted us to listen to local ABC radio for an update. We did see one of the choppers making its way to the scene, but at that stage, we hadn’t noticed the smoke.

Mind, when I left work at about 4.40pm it did take me about 10 minutes to move about 300m. Once I got past Ipswich Street, though, traffic was no different to any other Friday afternoon.

Gungahlin Al9:38 am 23 Nov 09

I could not believe that CT dedicated most of their front page, and two more pages to this fire. Sometimes our paper is just a bit too keen to talk up stuff.

I’ll admit the location is a bit fuzzy, but what is one of the reasons Joe blow goes out to Fyshwick (something only found legally in the ACT). Now if the wife of said driver sees her car out near one of these places Mr Joe Blow might be attending Family Court early 2010.

I think what Cletus 2 was getting at was that number plates are visible all day every day to everyone the car passes by. Their appearance on a website wouldn’t exactly mean that anyone who viewed the photo would be able to determine who the cars belonged to, nor would it give them any real information to work with if they could.

That said, I probably would have masked them myself. *shrug*

Sorry about the crappy photos, i wasn’t really thinking about posting them online at the time i was walking out, just thought id grab a few random shots, wish id taken a lot more now, i certainly had the opportunity to, oh well.

As for the black boxes, I didn’t want to make it too obvious where I work, anyone who knows fyshwick will be able to work it out themself but anyone who doesn’t won’t basically, and how are people “quite capable of taking off their own number plates if they don’t want them to be seen.”? I really don’t understand you here, for one in the 3 shots showing the earlier bit off the fire the cars I blacked out are my workmates cars and a customers car, and I didn’t want to get myself in trouble with my employer so I decided to play better safe than sorry. As far as the people on newcastle street driving out, no it probably doesnt really matter but id already done it on 3 of the photos so I decided to just do all of them.

The point I don’t get is how the people in those cars who don’t know I took a photo of them and don’t know that photo was then posted online meant to take off their own number plate if they don’t want it to be seen? That makes absolutely no sense at all. Yes I choose to protect those people’s privacy for what little it may matter to the people in those cars on their behalf, as the photographer I believe that is my right last time I checked. If RiotACT thought they detracted too much from the photo, then they could have not approved the article, im guessing they were intelligent enough to realise why I did it though.

Sorry for going on the defensive but I didn’t imagine anyone would actually need to ask why, I though it would have been fairly obvious, on that I was wrong obviously.

What’s with all the black boxes? I think people are quite capable of taking off their own number plates if they don’t want them to be seen.

Talking to a shop on Newcastle St yesterday, apparently it was the scrap metal yard that went up, and probably AAA Sandblasting which is nearby – I also wonder whether Canturf was affected. There were a series of explosions, the most powerful of which was described as “window-rattling”.

It seems the major concern was natural gas. There’s some kind of valve station between the site of the fire and the lights on Newcastle St, and there was talk of a major gas line running up Newcastle St that might have exploded.

“Traffic was so packed along Canberra avenue I realised there was no point waiting for a bus”

You are lucky as Fyshwick was closed to all ACTION buses (& more then likely Deanes Buslines) from around 14:00 to 17:00. The ACTION Supervisors attempted to get in & grab/notify anyone waiting a bus stops, but even they were turned back. The ACTION Supervisors were told there was a chance a big chuck of Fyshwick could of gone up if it reached a certain area (that information wasn’t allowed to be published until today)

stonedwookie1:13 pm 21 Nov 09

better photo at the canberra times.
pretty intense fire by the looks of it

thankfully the very first person I tried to flag down stopped and gave me a lift most of the way back to Queanbeyan

Good on em

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