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Factory Fire, Cartwright

Published: 6th June 2006

At 2 am on 6 June 2006, the NSW Fire Brigades received a call from the Police reporting a factory on fire in Cartwright in Sydney’s south-west. Fire crews were on the scene within eight minutes to find large volumes of smoke issuing from an industrial complex of eight factory units. Three factory units were alight. An urgent request for more assistance was made and ultimately 50 firefighters from 10 brigades were committed to fighting the fire.

The concrete and brick factory units soon succumbed to the intense heat generated by the fire. A rear wall collapsed and the roof gave way. Other walls threatened to fall as well, so a collapse zone was established around the building for the safety of the firefighters.

The fire crews concentrated on cutting the fire off at an adjoining factory unit to prevent it from spreading throughout the complex. This factory contained four mobile cranes which firefighters relocated in case the fire spread further. Within about 90 minutes, fire crews had the fire contained to the original three factory units. This was a remarkable effort considering that only a thin sheet of metal separated the fire from the next unit in the complex.

Fire crews remained at the scene throughout the day extinguishing minor flare-ups and generally mopping up.

The fire extensively damaged the three factories. One firefighter sustained a minor hand injury and was treated at the scene by Ambulance officers.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the NSW Fire Brigades Fire Investigation and Research Unit and the Police.