Massive Factory Fire - Kurri Kurri

Published: 14 Nov 2021 10:09am

------ UPDATE: 18 November 2021 14:46 Hrs ------

At 5:46 pm on 17th November 2021 Fire and Rescue NSW ceased operations at the industrial fire in Mitchell Rd, Kurri Kurri and handed control of the site to the site owner who is continuing to monitor it. Both the EPA and the site owner were consulted during the hand over. 

------ UPDATE: 17 November 2021 15:28 Hrs ------

Over the past 24 hours, FRNSW has removed large sections of the roof which has revealed an amount of aluminium dross alight. In an effort to extinguish this fire, FRNSW is currently applying dry sand and removing unburnt material from the impacted area.
Air quality continues to be monitored to ensure community and firefighter safety.
Five FRNSW crews remain on scene.

------ UPDATE: 16 November 2021 1700 Hrs ------

- Police crime scene on scene investigating .
- Sand bags have been placed around dam wall where the majority of water run off had been going. This water will be pumped out by a trade waste contractor and recycled.
- The roof in the front will be removed and hidden fires extinguished. Method of extinguishment to be determined once we properly identify what is burning.
- Large excavators continuing to remove smoldering debris at the rear of the factory and firefighters are using hose lines to extinguish.
- Atmospheric monitoring continuing through community with zero readings
- FRNSW anticipate to be off site by Friday

------ UPDATE: 15 November 2021 1700Hrs ------

The air quality in the vicinity of the fire has been monitored for the past 24hrs by FRNSW.
All readings have been within acceptable levels with any previous evacuations precautionary only.
There were concerns raised from the community regarding water and air safety, please follow the below advice:

• Water tanks: first flush systems will remove particulates from roof tops.
• Wash down any external items, particularly those with visible ash deposits.
• Any outdoor pet water or food should be discarded and refreshed.

The public water supply remains the most reliable source of good quality drinking water for the community. NSW Health supports the use of rainwater tanks for non-drinking uses, such as toilet flushing, washing clothes or in water heating systems, and outdoors for uses such as garden watering, car washing, filling swimming pools, spas and ornamental ponds, and fire fighting. In urban areas NSW Health recommends that people use the public water supply for drinking and cooking because it is generally filtered, disinfected and fluoridated.

------ UPDATE: 15 November 2021 ------

FRNSW remains on scene at a chemical fire in Kurri Kurri. Residents are advised to shelter indoors and remaining clear of smoke. If you are indoors, close all windows, doors, vents and turn off air conditioning. A community meeting will be held at 11:00 am today at Weston Workers Club, 1 Government Rd Weston.


• What are the health risks to local residents, businesses and the community?  
A FRNSW Scientific Officer is working alongside the Environmental Protection Authority to undertake regular atmospheric monitoring in key locations, including the local TAFE, primary school and Catholic school. There have been nil readings to date, indicating that the air quality is at acceptable levels. 

The advice to stay inside is to reduce the chance of smoke inhalation, which can affect people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma.  

• When will students return to school?  
Based on current information we expect the smoke plume and fire to reduce significantly in size overnight. FRNSW is liaising with the Department of Education and anticipate that schools will be able to accommodate students from tomorrow (Tue 16 Nov) whilst complying with Covid-19 ventilation requirements. Air purifiers are currently in use at TAFE to ensure the continuation of HSC exams.  

• How did the fire start?  
The cause of the fire is still being investigated. 

• What is on fire? 
While there are a number of substances on site, including highly volatile acetylene gas cylinders and pallets of flammable hand sanitiser, there have been nil readings from atmospheric monitoring, indicating air quality is at acceptable levels.  

• When will the fire be extinguished? 
FRNSW firefighters remain on scene and are continuing to work towards extinguishing the fire. We anticipate that the majority of the fire will be extinguished by late this afternoon. Structural engineers have been engaged to assess the two building structures and identify access points. This will enable firefighters to attack the fires burning inside 

• When will the emergency alert end? 
Operations are ongoing and in conjunction with the EPA we are continuing to monitor air quality. Please keep an eye on this webpage, FRNSW Facebook and FRNSW Twitter for updates.  

ORIGINAL MESSAGE: 14 November 2021

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) crews are at the scene of a very large factory fire at Kurri Kurri, in the Hunter Valley.

Fire crews were alerted just after 10am this morning.

When they arrived at the unoccupied Mitchell Avenue premises, they found numerous wooden crates alight and flames threatening neighbouring structures.

Highly volatile acetylene gas bottles and pallets of flammable hand sanitiser (ethanol) are contained within the site.

More than 180 firefighters are now battling the blaze, which is expected to continue overnight.

Residents in the area are urged to take the following precautions:

• Anyone with respiratory conditions should limit their exposure to smoke outdoors – if shortness of breath occurs, take reliever medicine or seek medical assistance
• Ensure windows and doors are closed to prevent smoke infiltration
• Removing any washing from clotheslines

Updated: 30 Jan 2023 09:14pm

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Stations nearby

KURRI KURRI Fire Station

119 Lang Street, Kurri Kurri NSW 2327

ABERMAIN Fire Station

Cnr Cessnock Road & Charles Street, Abermain NSW 2326

KEARSLEY Fire Station

26 Allandale Street, Kearsley NSW 2325