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Mill Explosion and Fire, Summer Hill

Published: 8th May 2006

Just after 9.30 pm on Friday 5 May 2006, the NSW Fire Brigades received an automatic fire alarm call to a flour mill in Edward St, Summer Hill. Triple zero callers confirmed a fire in the premises. Crews from Ashfield, Marrickville, Leichhardt and Burwood and a ladder truck from Glebe were dispatched.

The Ashfield and Marrickville crews were at the scene within six minutes and found large volumes of smoke issuing the exhaust stacks. Crews from Newtown and Campsie were added to the response; 25 firefighters fought the fire.

Firefighters put on air cylinders to investigate the source of the smoke. Upon closer inspection and consultation with mill management it was determined that a small explosion had occurred and a fire was burning on levels five and six of the mill. The mill was evacuated as firefighters attacked the fire. The sprinkler system assisted the containment of the fire and within about 30 minutes firefighters had the fire under control.

Fire crews used thermal imaging technology to check for fire spread in concealed spaces. By 11.30 pm, the fire crews were confident that the fire had been fully extinguished. The fire was contained to a dust collection unit which was extensively damaged. The rest of the mill was saved thanks largely to the sprinkler system and the skill of the fire crews. There were no injuries.

The cause of the explosion and fire is being investigated.