Fire and Rescue NSW eliminates explosion threat at chemical manufacturing plant - Banksmeadow

Published: 28 Feb 2023 04:41pm

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) has safely removed highly-flammable gas from the vicinity of a chemical stack at risk of collapsing in Sydney's east.

Significant emergency services resources were called to the chemical manufacturing plant on Denison Street, Banksmeadow, around 9:15am today.

A major fault had been identified in a cooling tower, triggering an emergency shutdown of the site.

Flames were seen pouring from a cooling tower as specialist staff undertook a controlled burn to stop the flow of gas, predominantly ethylene.

At that stage, concerns were raised about the possibility the tower could collapse.

If it had given way, the structure would have likely fallen onto six trailers, each storing 1,700 cubic metres of potentially-explosive hydrogen.

A detailed plan was developed to carefully remove the hazard.

FRNSW firefighters ended up rigging up the tractor unit to each trailer, one by one, and relocating them, with the hydrogen cylinders, to a safe location.

The operation took just under an hour-and-a-half to complete, with the final trailer removed just before 4pm.

The earlier precautionary evacuation notice has now been withdrawn, with people able to return to homes and businesses in the area.

A small exclusion zone will be set up around the tower while the risk of collapse remains.

FRNSW will hand control of the site back to the company.

The incident response has been assisted by NSW Police, NSW Ambulance, the NSW Environmental Protection Authority, SafeWork NSW and Transport for NSW.

EDITORS NOTE: Additional still images of the Banksmeadow site are available via the FRNSW website.

Updated: 28 Feb 2023 04:46pm

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