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Mitchell factory fire. ESA Reports of the major emergency.

By johnboy - 15 September 2011 121

photo by thisisaname

The ACT Fire Brigade is responding to reports of a large factory fire in Dacre Street at Mitchell.

11:52pm Thursday 15 September 2011

A 300 metre exclusion zone has now been put in place.

Three fire pumpers, bronto, hazmat, BA unit and command crews are all on scene.

The ACT Fire Brigade is working with the business operator to identify the contents of the building.

The fire has now burned through the roof of the premises as firefighters work to extinguish it.

The ACT Ambulance Service also in attendance as a precaution.

12:15am Friday 16 September 2011

The building is located in the newer industrial estate of Mitchell off Hoskins Street.

Firefighters have been forced to move a few hundred metres back from the premises while working with the business operator to identify what substances are inside the building.

The business, Energy Service International (ESI), works with materials including oil from electricity transformers.

The fire has produced a thick smoke plume in the immediate area.

12:42am Friday 16 September 2011 – Update two – Factory fire in Mitchell

The ACT Fire Brigade has confirmed the fire is burning within an amount of mineral oil within the building.

Firefighters are now re-commencing firefighting operations using water and foam.

The ACT Fire Brigade has now ordered the evacuation of the whole suburb of Mitchell including a number of campers at Exhibition Park.

There is still a localised smoke plume but there is no threat to nearby residential suburbs of Harrison and Franklin.

Residents are advised to remain indoors.

1:14am Friday 16 September 2011

EMERGENCY ALERT issued

The ACT Fire Brigade has issued an EMERGENCY ALERT about the presence of a potentially toxic smoke plume to the suburb of Mitchell between Flemington Road and Gungahlin Drive and the Barton Highway and Wells Station Drive

1:50am Friday 16 September 2011

Firefighters have been forced to retreat back from the fire following multiple explosions and are now reassessing firefighting options.

2:27am Friday 16 September 2011

Firefighters are still working to bring the fire under control in the building which measures 30 metres by 40 metres.

Firefighting operations were interrupted earlier this morning because of multiple explosions from inside the premises.

The suburb of Mitchell remains evacuated due to concerns over the possibility of toxins in the smoke from the fire. Police are operating road blocks on all entrances to Mitchell. People should avoid the area until further notice.

Evacuation centres has been established at Canberra Stadium and Dickson College.

An EMERGENCY ALERT telephone advice has been issued for residents within a 10 kilometre radius to remain indoors until further notice.

People are urged not to ring 000 unless for a life threatening emergencies. All telephone inquiries should be made to Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.

4:10am Friday 16 September 2011

Firefighting operations are continuing on scene.

The ACT Fire Brigade is aiming to reassess the current exclusion zone by 6 o’clock this morning in the hope of reducing the area affected.

An evacuation centre is established at Dickson College and a reception area at Canberra Stadium which can be used as an evacuation centre if required. There is approximately 100 people at the Dickson centre and about 50 horses.

The EPA has confirmed nothing no material has escaped the site on the ground and into stormwater drain.

4:58am Friday 16 September 2011

ACT Fire Brigade is currently carrying out atmospheric monitoring throughout Mitchell with no abnormal readings to date.

People within a 10 kilometre radius of the site are still being asked to remain indoors and keep windows closed.

There have been no casualties as a result of the fire.

The Barton and Federal Highways are open as usual.

All roads into Mitchell remain closed, Gungahlin Drive, Wells Station Road and Flemington Road.

There will be significant disruptions to Acton Bus Services on the northside this morning as a result of the road closures. People can call Canberra Connect for more information.

5:28am Friday 16 September 2011

ACT Education and Training Directorate is currently working to determine the impact of the fire on schools on the northside today. Further advice will be provided as soon as possible.

The referral centre at Canberra Stadium has now been closed with all people seeking an evacuation centre should go to Dickson College.

5:55am Friday 16 September 2011

The ACT Fire Brigade is continuing to conduct atmospheric monitoring throughout Mitchell.

The by-product of the substance being burned, PCB, is a smoke plume that potentially could contain Phosgene.

Phosgene is known to cause irritation to skin and eyes, sore throat, nausea, headaches and dizziness, vomiting, chest pain and difficulty breathing.

The ACT Fire Brigade believe the risk to the community is low but continue to take all precautions.

People within a 10k radius of the fire are still advised to remain indoors with windows closed.

People outside this zone are strongly advised to stay away from the area and the smoke plume.

More information to follow.

6:37am Friday 16 September 2011

The ACT Fire Brigade have confirmed testing has resulted in no positive readings for Phosgene to date.

If further tests show the same result the 10k radius area of shelter will be significantly reduced.

Update to follow within half an hour.

6:59am Friday 16 September 2011

Further atmospheric testing in Mitchell has still found no sign of Phosgene in the air.

The smoke is rising higher and starting to dissipate.

The ACT Fire Brigade has now reduced the exclusion zone back to the suburb of Mitchell from the fire.

People are free to now move around north Canberra except within the exclusion zone at Mitchell.

People are asked to be patient with the delays that will be experienced.

The evacuation centre at Dickson College will remain open for as long as required.

7:35am Friday 16 September 2011

The ACT Education and Training Directorate advises all schools north of Lake Burley Griffin will remain closed today.

Parents are asked to keep their children at home if possible.

Staff will be on hand for supervision of students who may still attend.

Action school bus services have been cancelled north of the lake but all other services are now resuming.

7:44am Friday 16 September 2011

The race meeting scheduled at Thoroughbred Park today has been cancelled because of smoke from the Mitchell fire.

8:55am Friday 16 September 2011

The following roads are closed: Flemington Road/Randwick Road?
? ?
?Randwick Road/Barton Hwy?
? ?
?Gungahlin Drive northbound closed between Barton Hwy and Kosciuszko Ave?
? ?
?Left turn from Barton Hwy on to GDE – traffic being stopped from turning onto?
? ?
?Eastbound Barton Hwy – stopping all traffic turning onto GDE northbound?
? ?
?All southbound traffic on GDE from Kosciuszko Ave?
? ?
?Oodgerdoo Ave/ Marlowe St – traffic stopped from entering southbound GDE?
? ?
?Nullarbor Road and Flemington Road – access onto Flemington Road southbound blocked?
? ?
?Morriset Road/Flemington Road – access to Old Wells Station Road blocked?
?

EPIC has been reopened.

9:45am Friday 16 September 2011

Firefighters have the fire under control and contained within the building.

The ACT Fire Brigade is preparing to attack the fire directly with foam.

The fire still sending potentially toxic smoke over Mitchell with the exclusion zone still in place in the suburb.

Some media reports suggesting the ACT Fire Brigade has declared the smoke is not toxic are incorrect. The smoke is still potentially toxic.

ACT Ambulance Service remains on scene supporting the firefighters. No known patients have presented to hospital as a direct result of the fire.

9:50am Friday 16 September 2011

[Courtesy ESA]

If you’ve got a picture of the fire please send it in to images@the-riotact.com .

Photo by ThisIsAName. For more pictures sent in by the community check out our dedicated page.

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121 Responses to
Mitchell factory fire. ESA Reports of the major emergency.
krash 3:49 am 16 Sep 11

I got awoken by the explosions from the fire and got a good vantage point from the back verandah. I also got the sms from the ACT Emergency Services with some seriously bad spelling. “Insadent” “Resadent”.

Hopefully no one was seriously injured.

Gungahlin Al 3:47 am 16 Sep 11

Landline automated alerts now going out to everyone. Extended to Amaroo and Inner North too. Campers at EPIC evacuated. No explosions audible from Harrison for a while but have everything closed up tight.

facet 3:44 am 16 Sep 11

3.22 am 16/9/2011 The SMS message received on my mobile is so full of spelling mistakes, my first thoughts were this is a fake.
Canberra Connect site:
“Current emergency status:
There are currently no emergencies in the ACT.”

http://www.emergencyinformation.act.gov.au/

You have to drill down to the “Community Alerts” to get the message to stay inside.

Looked out the window – yes there is a fire.

stingy1 3:28 am 16 Sep 11

Just got a text, presumably from emergency services:

“The ACT Fire Brigade responding to chemical insadent (sic) in Mitchell. Resadents (sic) of Franklin, Crace, Harrison, Kaleen, Lyeham, Hackett stay indoors.”

I’ll take it, misspelling or not.

Gungahlin Al 3:26 am 16 Sep 11

I’m thinking this won’t be posted until morning, but in case:

It is getting serious now (if it wasn’t already). The police have just sent an emergency SMS to every mobile phone in the area advising to stay indoors.

On Twitter a rather cryptically worded tweet advised that Dickson College has been “stood up” by the ACT Government and is the formal evacuation centre if Franklin residents are told to evacuate.

It’s all down to the wind I think. While the fire remains extremely hot, most of the smoke will go very high. But if it comes down, it will be time to get out.

capodien 3:11 am 16 Sep 11

I guess firefighters are standing by. All vehicles are at least 200m away from the warehouse. All roads are closed. My house is 500m away from there. Many by standards are around the area. Police at the roundabout describe the incident as “just a fire”. Some service people have put their mask on. One of my friend said the police told local residents to go home, close all the windows and turn the air con on. Smoke have moved to east into NSW.

I have leaved my house once I saw the fire through the window. First explosion heard around 2am.

Gungahlin Al 3:06 am 16 Sep 11

It’s a huge fire.

The entire factory exploded bang on 2am. Explosions 100m into the sky (always when I had my phone on another screen!).

Police are extending their exclusion zone into southern Franklin and wearing face masks themselves. Expect Gungahlin Drive and Flemington Rd to be closed off for ages if not into the morning. There is no way they could control this – they’ll have to just wait for it to burn out.

They are also warning people to keep their houses closed off and A/C units off to avoid toxic fumes. It is Energy Services International: oil recycling plant, PCBs (!), batteries. Nasty…

Gungahlin residents would be wise to take William Slim or Federal Hwy for their commute today.

casperjones 2:53 am 16 Sep 11
casperjones 2:53 am 16 Sep 11

2:27am Friday 16 September 2011 – Update five – Factory fire in Mitchell Firefighters have been forced to retreat back from the fire following multiple explosions and are now reassessing firefighting options.
1:50am Friday 16 September 2011 – Update four – Factory fire in Mitchell – EMERGENCY ALERT issued The ACT Fire Brigade has issued an EMERGENCY ALERT about the presence of a potentially toxic smoke plume to the suburb of Mitchell between Flemington Road and Gungahlin Drive and the Barton Highway and Wells Station Drive.
1:14am Friday 16 September 2011 – Update three – Factory fire in Mitchell The ACT Fire Brigade has confirmed the fire is burning within an amount of mineral oil within the building.

Firefighters are now re-commencing firefighting operations using water and foam.

The ACT Fire Brigade has now ordered the evacuation of the whole suburb of Mitchell including a number of campers at Exhibition Park.

There is still a localised smoke plume but there is no threat to nearby residential suburbs of Harrison and Franklin.

Residents are advised to remain indoors.
12:42am Friday 16 September 2011 – Update two – Factory fire in Mitchell The building is located in the newer industrial estate of Mitchell off Hoskins Street.

Firefighters have been forced to move a few hundred metres back from the premises while working with the business operator to identify what substances are inside the building.

The business, Energy Service International (ESI), works with materials including oil from electricity transformers.

The fire has produced a thick smoke plume in the immediate area

stingy1 2:47 am 16 Sep 11

Woke up in Watson to a series of explosions at 2am. They kept going over at least a half hour period.

Bloody frightening.

The 666 emergency broadcast at 2.30am saying ‘stay indoors’ wasn’t very reassuring. Where are you supposed to get good information? http://www.esa.act.gov.au/ESAWebsite/content_esa/home_page/esa_home_page.html isn’t reassuring either.

disconnected 2:39 am 16 Sep 11

Further detail from the ESA: 2:27am Friday 16 September 2011 – Update five – Factory fire in Mitchell
Firefighters have been forced to retreat back from the fire following multiple explosions and are now reassessing firefighting options.
1:50am Friday 16 September 2011 – Update four – Factory fire in Mitchell – EMERGENCY ALERT issued
The ACT Fire Brigade has issued an EMERGENCY ALERT about the presence of a potentially toxic smoke plume to the suburb of Mitchell between Flemington Road and Gungahlin Drive and the Barton Highway and Wells Station Drive.

http://www.esa.act.gov.au/ESAWebsite/content_esa/home_page/esa_home_page.html

Grrrr 2:33 am 16 Sep 11

At 2AM the explosions from the fire are echoing off Mt Ainslie like thunder. They have started evacuating everyone + horses camped at EPIC now, too.

disconnected 2:26 am 16 Sep 11

Just got woken up by a pretty big series of explosions at this fire, hope all the firefighters are OK.

dvaey 2:15 am 16 Sep 11

I wonder if thats the kitchen joinery? No doubt a lot of timbers and chemicals in that factory waiting to go up in smoke.

Buckaroo_Banzai 2:13 am 16 Sep 11

Sounds like explosions at around 2am. Scary stuff.

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