The site comprises a number of facilities, including a non-hazardous waste storage facility, a scrap metal sorting and processing unit, and a solid recovered fuel (SRF) production line.
SRF is produced from wood waste or recyclable padding materials supplied by civic amenity sites. Upon arriving at the site, this waste is inspected and sorted (the convertible portions – wood and metal – are retrieved) and then shredded to produce SRF. The SRF is then temporarily stored under canopy storage shelters.
At around 2:00 p.m., an employee saw a fireball at the discharge hopper of a shredder at a waste processing facility. The shredder is part of the line used to make SRF from sorted wood and furniture waste. The fire spread to the shredded material at the foot of the shredder and then to the two canopy shelters containing waste awaiting shredding and the stockpiles of SRF.
The employee gave the alert. The site’s emergency services fought the fire with a water cannon, then notified the municipal firefighters. They extinguished the fire at 7:00 a.m. the following day. The area was monitored.
The two storage canopies (metal structures covered with polymer tarpaulins) were damaged and the tarpaulins were burnt to a cinder. The operator had the strength of the metal structures tested. SRF production was halted.
The burnt shredded material (1400 t) was treated in the operator’s storage facility. The firewater flowed into a ditch. As the ditch did not have an impervious liner, a portion of the firewater may have seeped into the ground. This portion drained into the storage facility’s leachate collection system.
The fire started in the shredder as a flame that rapidly burnt at the unit’s outlet. The waste in the shredder may have been ignited by a flare left in the sorted waste. The flare may have been mechanically set off, such as by a rotor.
Several fires, some related to the shredding of waste (ARIA 40287 and 48312), had already occurred at this site.