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Hazelwood mine fire update 11/3/14
LISTEN: Audio from the latest media conference on the current fire and health situation from the Hazelwood open cut mine fire.
Incident Controller Bob Barry, Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley and Chief Health Officer Dr Rosemary Lester gave media the latest information and answered a number of questions relating to the fire’s status and when residents, who have temporarily relocated, can return to their homes. EPA CEO John Merritt was also on hand to answer any questions.
Mr Barry said that while yesterday the fire was brought under control, there was still significant work to be done to declare it safe and in turn, scale down resourcing and hand control back to the mine. Mr Lapsley added to this saying that more than 7000 individual firefighters have been involved in fighting the mine fire. He said while some of these members have returned a number of times, more than 13,500 people have worked on the incident across its 30 days.
Dr Lester said as there was still some smoke and varying air quality in Morwell, she was not able to lift the temporary relocation advice recently issued to vulnerable communities. She said the health of the people of Morwell was a priority and would continue to be a focus into the recovery phase of this incident. Dr Lester said since its establishment, more than 1800 people have visited the health assessment centre.
Mr Lapsley and Dr Lester also welcomed the announcement by the Premier and Deputy Premier today of an independent inquiry in to the Hazelwood mine fire. The inquiry will look at response to and support of the Morwell and affected communities and the emergency response. Mr Lapsley will also conduct a supporting review into fire management and prevention at the mine.