Fire and Rescue NSW responds to major HAZMAT incident - Banksmeadow

Published: 28 Feb 2023 02:31pm


The incident has been resolved and the precautionary evacuation order has been withdrawn. Local traffic is safe to return to the area. Fire and Rescue NSW eliminates explosion threat at chemical manufacturing plant - Banksmeadow


A precautionary evacuation order has been issued as Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) crews respond to a major hazardous materials incident at a chemical manufacturing plant in Sydney's east.

Emergency services were called to the site on Denison Street, Banksmeadow, just after 6:15am, after reports of a fault in a cooling tower.

When they arrived, flames were emitting approximately 50 metres above one of the 70 metre tall exhaust stacks.

It was quickly established staff had already enacted an emergency shutdown of the plant, and were undertaking a controlled burn within the stack to stop the flow of gas, predominantly ethylene.

Firefighters carefully assessed the situation and determined the company's on-site technicians could manage it in line with normal operating procedures and emergency protocols.

FRNSW crews were called back to the scene around 9:15am, when staff identified significant structural damage to timber which was reinforcing the cooling tower.

There are now concerns the tower may collapse and, if it does, land on a supply of highly flammable hydrogen, being stored on semi-trailers on an adjacent property.

FRNSW currently has significant resources on-scene including local fire crews, HAZMAT teams, and technical rescue experts who specialise in structural collapse.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), or drones, are also being used to assist firefighters and other authorities in safely monitoring the situation.

The response is also being assisted by NSW Police, NSW Ambulance, the NSW Environmental Protection Authority, SafeWork NSW and Transport for NSW.

Plans have now been formulated to safely remove the hydrogen cylinders to eliminate risk to the public.

As a precautionary measure, an evacuation order has been issued for people and local traffic within 800 metres of the tower.

This takes in homes and businesses around Denison Street, Stephen Road and Wentworth Avenue.

Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

Media and the local community are encouraged to monitor the FRNSW social media pages for additional details and regular updates.

Updated: 28 Feb 2023 04:50pm

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Stations nearby


Cnr Beauchamp & Bunnerong Roads, Matraville NSW 2036

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