Local News

Homes evacuated as toxic smoke from huge fire blankets Melbourne suburb

Authorities said continued exposure to the “hazardous” fumes could affect people's health.
Melbourne, Melbourne news, Coolaroo, melbourne fire, Dallas, North Melbourne

Residents from more than 100 homes in Dallas have been evacuated as toxic smoke from a nearby recycling plant continues to blanket the north Melbourne area.

Emergency services issued an evacuation warning at around 8.00pm on Thursday after very poor air quality levels were detected by the Environment Protection Authority.

Incident Controller Mark Swiney said continued exposure to the fumes, stemming from the SKM Recycling factory in Coolaroo, could affect people’s long-term health.

“We did atmospheric monitoring and in the area to the south of the fire we found that there were particulates in the air which are detrimental to people’s long-term health,” he told The Age.

“The fumes contain particulates, it’s not a chemical. They are not an immediate danger to health, they are more of an immediate long-term risk.”

A relief centre has been opened at the Broadmeadows Aquatic Leisure Centre for those evacuated.

Image via AAP.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) Commander Darren Conlin said the blaze will likely take a number of days to extinguish.

“It’s proven somewhat difficult to put out, especially during the night, so what we’ve done overnight is try to contain it into the footprint we had using our aerial appliances and large hoses,” he said.

“Our concern now is about the smoke and the impact that smoke is having on the community.”

“We’ll be here for a number of days, I would imagine, and when the sun comes up and we get a bit more light and it’s safer for our operational firefighters, we’ll make more of an aggressive approach into extinguishing the fire.”

Residents in surrounding suburbs Broadmeadows, Campbellfield, Dallas, Fawkner, Glenroy, Jacana and Westmeadows are being advised to take shelter indoors, close all exterior doors, windows and vents and turn off heating and cooling systems.

It is the third time the plant has caught fire this year.

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