An intense blaze at an industrial waste factory north of Melbourne has been brought under control.
Toxic black plumes of smoke started pouring out of the building in Thorneycroft Road, Campbellfield, about 6.40am this morning.
More than 100 firefighters, using 40 appliances, have been tackling the blaze at the facility which provides storage and disposal services of industrial and hazardous waste.
Metropolitan Fire Brigade Chief Officer Dan Stephens said the fire was “particular challenging to contain” due to the high presence of “flammable liquid” inside the factory.
While Officer Stephens said the “smoke plume has been significantly reduced” an EPA warning is still in place for anyone with lung conditions – including asthma – heart conditions, children 14 years and younger, pregnant women and people over 65 urging them to stay away or stay indoors.
The Bradbury facility had its licence to take additional hazardous waste material cancelled on March 20 with the authority issuing a statement saying Bradbury had not satisfied previously raised concerns.
The company was found to be stockpiling an unlicensed quantity of waste material during an EPA inspection on March 13,” the EPA said.
The EPA also found storage containers weren’t adequately labelled and were being handled outside the designated area designed to restrict potential spills.
The suspension means that the company cannot take additional waste to its site, but can process what already exists on the site until it comes back into compliance with its licence requirements.
One witness today told 9NEWS he saw barrels flying in the air earlier this morning as the fire took hold.
Talking to reporters in Bendigo, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said initial investigations suggested that it was “not a suspicious fire” and reinforced inter-agency work targeting dodgy chemical processing and storage facilities pointing to “enormous amount of spot auditing and checking.
Many locations are doing the right thing (but) there are some that are not.
Anyone doing the wrong thing will be caught and the penalties will be significant the premier said.
Alex Paul who worked at a neighbouring site said he heard screams of “Get out” as workers fled the scene.
We moved about five buildings down. We didn’t realise how dangerous it was. Then we saw barrels flying in the air.
Explosions are still being heard as firefighters struggle to control the fire from spreading.
One person has been treated for an eye injury, Ambulance Victoria said.
Students and parents at a local primary school are being urged to stay away today.
Holy Child Primary School is about three kilometres from the factory.
Principal Allan Smith said the smoke is visible from the school.
We have been advising our parents to stay at home and lock their doors and windows.