At around 8 p.m., an employee of a waste consolidation centre observed on outbreak of fire via the video surveillance system at the transfer area, separated by walls, and then contacted the fire brigade. A truck carrying a load of wood was parked near the fire and had to be moved. The site is equipped with a retention system. The fire was brought under control at around 11:45 p.m., but resumed a short time after. The intervention finally ended at 2:00 a.m.

Analysis of the video surveillance footage shows that the first smoke appeared at 7 p.m. and the first flames at 7:45 p.m. Work was being conducted on the transfer area until 5:45 p.m. A security patrol was conducted before the site had closed at 6:15 p.m. According to the operator, the hot-spot work had generated sparks that caused a smouldering fire in the waste that had accumulated between the blocks used to construct the wall surrounding the transfer area. The fire was contained within the zone, as walls acted as a fire break.

There was a delay in closing the shut-off valves because only the site managers were authorised to operate them as they were difficult to access. Fortunately, no environmental damage was reported.

Following the accident, the operator:

  • installed a fire detection system in the transfer area. The fire had been visible on the video surveillance cameras, but no fire alarms were triggered due to the lack of fire detection in the area;
  • installation of plates above the walls to prevent the waste from accumulating between the various blocks used in the construction of these walls;
  • the employees were reminded of the importance to conduct a safety round 2 hours after all hot-spot work;
  • the procedure for the securing the site in the event of an accident was modified and a practical “hands-on” exercise was conducted;
  • a special box, intended for the fire brigade, was installed at the entrance to the site, containing the plans of the site and useful telephone numbers;
  • fire drills were organised with firefighters. On the day of the accident, the firefighters used the fire hydrant located off the premises because they had not as yet tested the site hydrant or the firefighting water reserves.

A new outbreak of fire occurred on the site a few days later (ARIA 48635).