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Factory fire in Moolap
At around 4am on Tuesday, 15 September, Geelong City Fire Brigade attended a factory fire in Moon Street, Moolap. While crews from Geelong, Leopold and Belmont were on the way, an orange glow was noticed in the sky around the factory location.
Geelong City arrived on scene to find a fire at the northern end of the Glass Metal Industries (GMI) factory. The factory is approximately 50m x 35m. The company manufactures vitreous enamel products, including signage.
The fire had vented and was burning vertically within three stories of office space. A 38mm line was deployed to extinguish externally, whilst 2x lines of 38mm were deployed for an internal attack utilising two BA crews. The initial objective was to contain the fire to the central office spaces, protecting exposures including surrounding office space and the production area of the factory.
Prior to entry, a worker arrived with keys, allowing quick access. Three levels of office space, was well alight and pallet racking was starting to burn. Thanks to the quick access and hard work by crews, the fire spread was cut off at the entry. RDO Pat Geary arrived on scene. Fire Investigation was initiated due to the significant damage.
The site contained significant power infrastructure at the Southern end of the building for production. Forced entry was required on two doors in order to isolate power to make the scene safe. Powercor attended to ensure no other power was present. Portable LPG was present on site but was not compromised.
Once the fire was contained, ventilation was important to assist the internal crews and ensure no further spread has occurred. This was achieved by raising one of the large roller doors. Further size-up revealed unauthorised entry to the rear of the premises and police were requested to attend. This resulted in the arson squad attending with a CFA fire investigator.
The factory owners were concerned that two offices contained company records and a lab that held essential enamel data. CFA crews set up the ladder platform, enabling external crews to remove tin and stop fire spread through wall insulation. This also provided a safe working platform at height. Crews ensured these exposures remained protected throughout the incident.
Safety issues included falling sheets of tin, both internally and externally and a very slippery floor due to ruptured drums of a cleaning product. Internal crews were cautious due to missing floors within the office space and compromised stairways. Many areas were designated ‘no-go-zones’ as a result.
Corio BA support attended to fill approximately 10 cylinders, used by both the BA crews and the ladder platform air banks. The cause of the fire is still being determined.
Story by Mark Brislane