A hot tip: Brooklyn blaze burns tip trash into the air for two hours

Firefighters from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) battled a blaze at the Cleanaway operated recycling and waste management station in Brooklyn on Sunday, with tip trash burning into the air for two hours until the fire was brought under control.

MFB crews were called to the tip on Old Geelong Road just after 9am on Sunday morning and they arrived on site to find a pile of rubbish on fire that was 30 metres x 50 metres in size and 10 metres high.

It took 25 firefighters just over two hours to get the fire under control, with two excavators pulling apart the pile to allow access to the seat of the fire while aerial appliances including a Ladder Platform and Teleboom were used to douse the fire from above.

A lack of water in the area provided additional challenges for firefighters who remained on scene for several hours into the afternoon. There were no injuries reported and the cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

The fire is not an isolated incident, adding to a growing number of fires at Victorian transfer and recycling stations over the last two years, including fires at Anglesea, Knox, Laverton North and Coolaroo.

Following the fire at the SKM recycling plant in Coolaroo, which took a full 20 days to extinguish, the State Government created the Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce – an interagency working group tasked with identifying, auditing and regulating sites.

The combined efforts of EPA Victoria, WorkSafe, Sustainability Victoria, Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group and Local Government Victoria identified at least 800 sites, of which 700 sites were audited and 345 sites found to be ‘stockpiling’ rubbish.

The taskforce issued 79 remedial notices and 13 sanctions. Penalties range from official warnings, infringement notices of about $8000 and, for more serious offences, possible prosecution.

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