Firefighters were called to a fire inside a silo at the Condong Sugar Mill on Sunday. Picture: Supplied by Murwillumbah Fire and Rescue.
Firefighters were called to a fire inside a silo at the Condong Sugar Mill on Sunday. Picture: Supplied by Murwillumbah Fire and Rescue.

Firies’ quick response stops potential ‘dust explosion’

A RAPID response by Tweed emergency services prevented a fire at the Condong Sugar Mill from becoming a potential dust explosion.

Firefighters were notified about a fire inside a silo about 6.30pm on Sunday after staff realised they couldn't battle the flames alone.

Murwillumbah Fire and Rescue station commander Greg Hayes said the silo, which held sugarcane by-product, may have self-combusted while staff were emptying the contents.

Mr Hayes said staff had about 100 tonnes of sugarcane mulch left when they noticed smoke and fire in the corner of the silo.

He said emergency services were called when the flames increased and staff became overwhelmed by smoke.

"Firefighters from Murwillumbah, Tweed, Kingscliff and Cudgen arrived on scene, as well as Tweed hazmat and the duty commander," Mr Hayes said.

"You always have to be aware of a dust explosion if the dust finds an ignition source, it could blow up.

"It's a matter of putting a fine fog on the mulch so we didn't stir it up too much causing dust.

"We used a monitor where you set it up and put two hoses inside for a couple of hours."

Mr Hayes said the fire was extinguished in about two hours and the remaining mulch was removed and taken to a holding area.

He thanked an alert Tweed resident who called 000 when he noticed smoke in the area.

Mr Hayes explained the call helped fireys find the blaze quicker.

"Please don't hesitate to call 000 when you see smoke or fire, particularly at a time when there is a high fire danger," he said.



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