LAUNDRY BLAZE TOXINS LINGER
TOXIC chemicals have continued to smoulder hours after a commercial laundry was destroyed by a fierce blaze, with fire investigators unable to enter the site yesterday to determine the cause.
Emergency services were called to Townsville Laundries on Woolcock St at Garbutt about 6.20pm on Wednesday but the intense fire destroyed the building and caused a structural collapse. Neighbouring businesses were under threat and fire crews battled to protect them.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service Special Operations Unit Inspector Stephen Knight said officers were still putting out spot fires yesterday and had painstakingly removed bulk commercial chemicals and large stacks of clothing and manchester.
“It’s a fairly congested area and at this stage we are still moving items out as we can and extinguishing them, which is a very slow process,” Insp Knight said.
“It was a pretty intense fire and we had several other jobs at the same time, which made it hard but our crews were exceptional. Unfortuna- tely, though, there is no satisfaction for the owners of the original building who would be pretty devastated.”
Insp Knight said a volunteer scientific officer and council workers had been on scene to help with the identification of chemicals and to monitor water toxicity levels before they entered a nearby drain.
He said investigators would have to wait until breathing apparatus was not required at the site before they could enter the building and determine the cause of the blaze.
Townsville City Council Infrastructure Committee chair Trevor Roberts said the council was also called in to help.
“The council responded to a request from Fire and Rescue to create a sand bund on the site to contain water used to fight the fire and prevent any potential contaminants from entering the nearby stormwater drain,” he said.
“Fire and Rescue have been able to have the bunded water pumped to vac trucks and safely removed.”