Massive Chemical Factory Fire in Melbourne

Massive Chemical Factory Fire in Melbourne
Massive Chemical Factory Fire in Melbourne

Thick smoke and flames engulfed the sky in the Australian city of Melbourne after a huge factory fire broke out that media reports said was caused by a chemical explosion.

Around 180 firefighters and more than 50 trucks were responding to the blaze, local reports said, adding that it could take days to contain it.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that roads around the factory had been closed and people were urged to stay away from the area.

Firefighters say toxic smoke from a significant factory fire may rage for days as tens of thousands of residents are told to stay inside and a major Melbourne freeway is shut.

Metal drums filled with chemicals were thrown into the air from deep within the blaze afternoon, posing a danger to the 180 firefighters racing to bring it under control.

An explosion sparked the fire at the chemical factory on Swann Drive in Derrimut, west of the CBD, at about 11.20am and was brought under control around 3.30pm.

No injuries were reported and it was believed everyone inside the building was evacuated safely, Victoria police said.

Hazardous material and unknown toxins were burning, Fire Rescue Victoria said with the Western Freeway closed near the area for health reasons.

“We don’t know what’s in that smoke, smoke is toxic and will cause damage,” firefighter Michelle Cowling told reporters at the scene.

The blaze was Melbourne’s most significant in several years and would likely burn for days, she said.

Those in nearby factories were evacuated and thousands of people in the area told to stay indoors.

A watch and act alert was issued for the fire affecting thousands of residents and workers in Albion, Braybrook, Brooklyn, Derrimut, Laverton North, Sunshine, Sunshine West, Tottenham and Truganina.

“Wind is blowing toxic smoke towards the east across Derrimut,” the alert said.