Residents Urged To Stay Indoors As Fire Rages
A huge factory fire that began early this morning is still burning out of control.
Approximately 175 firefighters are battling a blaze that broke out at 6.30 this morning in Campbellfield in north Melbourne.
The factory is located on Thornycroft Street and residents in the area are being instructed to avoid the area as well as clear the roads for emergency vehicle access.
Victoria Emergency Services have encouraged people in north Melbourne sensitive to smoke to stay inside and keep windows and doors closed.
A wind change has directed smoke from the blaze south and the air quality has been affected in the surrounding areas.
There are homes in the area near the factory and residents have been instructed to stay inside and turn their air conditioning off.
Residents have described the intensity of the blaze, with one 3AW listener reporting that the "flames are easily thirty metres in the air".
30 people were inside the factory when the fire broke out but they safely self-evacuated.
The intensity of the fire has been exacerbated by multiple explosions within the factory and residents have reported that there was one extremely large explosion early this morning.
The factory is reported to be Bradbury Industrial Services, a holding site for paint and solvent waste before disposal and there are concerns that this toxic material is driving the blaze.
UPDATE: The head of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Dan Stephens, has told reporters that the blaze is unlikely to be put out entirely today and it is "likely to be ongoing for a number of days"
Stephens said that the factory and its contents have been acknowledged by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and other agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the past.
UPDATE: In 2013 the EPA charged Bradbury Industrial Services with storing waste without a license and the company was fined $15,000.
Bradbury were found at the time to be storing 40,000 litres of waste from paint and ink at an unlicensed factory and, when sampled, the waste was categorised as Prescribed Industrial Waste, meaning that it requires the highest level of management due to potential hazards to human health and the environment.
The EPA report noted that their inspection officers were responding to a fire that had broken out on Bradbury premises.
The EPA reported at the time that they had "issued the company with three notices requiring all industrial waste be removed from the unlicensed factory and that it clean up contamination that had occurred at the premises" and the company complied with these notices.
In March of this year the EPA suspended the company licence of Bradbury Industrial Services citing that the company were "storing more waste than permitted under its EPA licence, storage containers are not adequately labelled and are being handled outside an adequately bunded area."
EPA CEO Dr Cathy Wilkinson stated that the company were given the opportunity to show cause as to why their licence should not be suspended but failed to do so.
“The community has a right to expect that the management of hazardous and industrial waste is done to a high standard that meets regulations. This was not the case with Bradbury and is why EPA has taken this important decision," Wilkinson said.
More to come.