‘Stay away’: Warning of toxic explosion
2 mins read

‘Stay away’: Warning of toxic explosion

Residents have been warned to avoid the area where a massive explosion occurred at a factory as remnants of the toxic fire are expected to linger there for days.

A total of 180 firefighters and 66 vehicles were called to the factory in Derrimut, in Melbourne’s west, after a “large chemical explosion” occurred at about 11.20am on Wednesday.

The factory is known to function both as a fuel storage facility and as a place for mixing various chemicals on site.

The toxic cocktail that exploded included kerosene, fuel, mentholated spirits, paint thinner and ethanol.

Firefighters spent the entire day battling the blaze. They managed to get it under control on Thursday morning.

‘Stay away’: Warning of toxic explosion‘Stay away’: Warning of toxic explosion

The steel was melted due to a large fire. Photo: NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

HUGE CHEMICAL EXPLOSIONHUGE CHEMICAL EXPLOSION

Locals were told to avoid the area. Photo: NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

Despite this, residents are still being warned to avoid the area for several days.

“If you don’t have to come here, my advice is to stay away,” Victoria North West Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Michelle Cowling said.

Residents are also advised to avoid contact with water as firefighting water has entered Cherry Creek, Anderson’s Swamp and Kayes Drain.

“We estimate we will be here for a few days due to the fuel load at this plant,” she said.

HUGE CHEMICAL EXPLOSIONHUGE CHEMICAL EXPLOSION

Residents were warned to avoid the area. Photo: NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

HUGE CHEMICAL EXPLOSIONHUGE CHEMICAL EXPLOSION

Firefighters clean up after battling a massive factory fire in Derrimut. Photo: NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

“We can’t get close enough to cool this fire. It’ll have to be dismantled.”

Ms Crowling said there were 44-gallon drums of various types of fuel on the factory premises which exploded, shooting into the air and landing out of the reach of the fire.

Ms Crowling said it was the first fire to reach alert level seven since the agency was set up four years ago.

HUGE CHEMICAL EXPLOSIONHUGE CHEMICAL EXPLOSION

Firefighters battle a massive factory fire in Derrimut. Photo: NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

HUGE CHEMICAL EXPLOSIONHUGE CHEMICAL EXPLOSION

Flames and heavy smoke from the Derrimut factory fire. Photo: NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

She confirmed the fire was now under control and an investigation would be carried out by Victoria Police Fire Investigation, Fire Rescue Victoria and WorkSafe.

Firefighters managed to contain the fire in one plant, while neighbouring factories were not affected by the fire.

Crews will carry out a “significant amount of work” to ensure wastewater from the factory does not enter waterways, Ms Crowley said.

Victoria Police, FRV, EPA and Worksafe Victoria will be involved in the investigation in the coming days.

The fire occurred less than a year after a man died in a factory fire in the same location.