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Firefighters continue to work at Coolaroo

POSTED: 
21 July 2017

Firefighters remain at a recycling plant in Coolaroo, one week on after a fire at the site last Thursday (13 July).

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said controlling the fire, understanding the community and business impacts, and the shift to recovery were all key elements in the response, which was a well-coordinated effort led by MFB.

“Lessons learnt from the 2014 Hazelwood Mine Fire were fundamental in building capability in the sector, which triggered earlier decisions and better community outcomes at Coolaroo,” he said.

Heavy earth moving equipment is being used to pull apart the large stack of burnt recycling, into smaller, more manageable piles.

MFB firefighters are using foam to ensure there are no hot spots and that each is properly extinguished.

At the height of the fire last week, CFA’s Compressed Air Foam trucks from the Latrobe Valley were used to support the firefight along with interstate vehicles from South Australia, Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales.

These specialised trucks assisted in extinguishing the fire while supressing the impacts of smoke and ash on the community.

Last Thursday emergency services recommended to a small but targeted residential group to leave the area for 24 hours.

Victoria Police, with the assistance of Victoria State Emergency Service, door-knocked residents in the area.

“A recommendation to evacuate an area is never an easy decision, but the Incident Controller and Victoria Police had the support of all the agencies to make the decision in the best interest of those people,” Mr Lapsley said.

Those that did elect to leave could go to the relief centre set up at Broadmeadows Aquatic Centre, and be supported by Department of Health and Human Services, City of Hume Council, Australian Red Cross and Victorian Council of Churches.

A community health centre was also set up at the centre, where Ambulance Victoria assisted with health advice and monitoring.

It is expected that firefighters will remain at the scene into next week.

For incident information to go: https://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond/

Relief and recovery information is available on the Hume City Council website: bit.ly/hume-coolaroo