Flames a blaze in Moorebank
Severe Blaze in Sydney – A Factory in Flames
Challenged rescue authorities engage Advanced Buildings for emergency support in November, making safe a heavily fire damaged factory and buildings, in Sydney’s south west.
Just before 2pm the previous day, locals called emergency services to the Moorebank suburb, where the factory and warehouse of Baker & Co (a food ingredient factory and supplier) was ablaze. Rapidly escalating into a serious inferno, thick black smoke stretched 60km into the air, and was visible from most areas of Sydney, causing traffic chaos and worry about the potentially toxic nature of what chemicals might be in the smoke.
Around 100 people from nearby businesses, and the neighboring residential area, were evacuated, as twelve firefighting crews battled the burning building through the night. Thankfully there were no casualties, and the Advanced Team were contacted the following day to start the next phase of the operation – we were on site within an hour of the call.
Following the initial call from the insurer, Advanced Buildings were required to support the NSW Fire Brigade and other services, by supplying heavy plant and moving the fire damaged concrete panels away from the site. While the blaze had been reduced significantly, the fire was still burning underneath some of the collapsed walls.
It was a major operation, not least because the fire was not yet entirely out. Co-coordinating our tasks with the NSW Fire Brigade, NSW Police Force, the EPA, Insurance Company Structural Engineers and NSW Government Engineers was a challenge – but following the necessary site inductions, risk assessments, and toolbox, we were away. Critically, the team needed to get the 30T excavator to site, but the 3pm curfew was proving problematic. Thankfully, special permits were approved by Traffic Management Centre, and a NSW Police Highway patrol escorted the float to site.
Work was due to begin, with extra precautions taken, we just needed the ABC News Crew to arrive who were keenly reporting and documenting the process. Demolition commenced, and the major four fire damaged panels were ready to be moved off site within 10 minutes. Working until the stroke of midnight, the major loss team worked with the NSW Fire Brigade to lift the fire damage panels, and debris away – so the remainder of the fire could be extinguished. The essential work was complete by twelve o’clock, and so as the early hours of the morning crept closer, our tired group returned home for a well-deserved break.
After the flames subsided, further structural demolition was needed to ensure the walls and roof were safe, as well as site remediation to remedy the soil contamination, caused by chemicals in the factory spreading during the incident.
We all know and trust that good planning can reduce potential problems and unforeseen hazards, but that mantra has never proved quite as crucial as when our team started work in a still-burning building. The collaborative approach tested our skills and adaptability, working alongside various other stakeholders was a test but we came through it well, and the project was a resounding success. The best construction teams have to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, and it’s our ability to do this to high standards that helps all our clients achieve what they need, to do their jobs well.