The press line at an animal feed plant overheated at around 10:00 p.m. The line consists of a feed pellet press and a chiller, fan, and bag filter unit. The press overheated and ignited a product that was being manufactured. A fault appeared on the control display. The technicians stopped the press and opened it. Seeing nothing unusual, they started it back up. When restarting, an ember moved from the chiller to the filters. The technicians noticed this and stopped the line. Seeing smoke rising from the filters, they called the firefighters. While waiting for the firefighters, they emptied the chiller and the press containing the mass of overheated product. The firefighters extinguished the fire in 10–15 minutes with a nozzle and hose. They monitored for any potential hot spots until midnight.
The press overheated after running idle for too long before the batch that caught on fire was manufactured. The firewater was contained in the chiller and filter’s bunding. Material damage was limited to the filter, which burnt. The 200 kg of burnt product was composted. The manufacturing line was shut down long enough for the bag filters to be replaced and the line to be cleaned.
The operator reminded its employees of the importance of not letting machinery run idle for too long. Two similar accidents had already occurred in 2012 and in 2014 (ARIA 42095 and 45568). Improvements were made (installation of an additional fire hose rack and of a dry riser; increase of the smoke extraction capacity), but the pressure in the network was not sufficient to allow the water to reach the chillers. The operator is looking for technical solutions that will increase its effectiveness.