Hazmat incident at a plant in Sydney east, evacuation forced


A “major hazmat incident” was declared at the Qenos manufacturing plant in Denison St, Banksmeadow, in Sydney’s east. A fault in a cooling tower was constated after a water pipe burst. A fire started. The top of the tower was on fire. A significant structural damage to timber which was reinforcing the cooling tower was found. An emergency shutdown of the plant was enacted. Explosion was feared.


Evacuation orders were issued for people and local traffic within 800m of the tower. NSW Fire and Rescue worked to move six bulk tankers of “highly flammable” hydrogen cylinders at the base of the tower, each storing 1,700 cubic metres of potentially-explosive gas. “The major concern we had is if there had been further structural collapse and it had then fallen onto the bulk hydrogen cylinders, were that to happen there was potential for an uncontrolled release of hydrogen,” deputy commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell said. After hours, the critical situation was solved. “The earlier precautionary evacuation notice has now been withdrawn, with people able to return to homes and businesses in the area,” a statement said. An exclusion zone was established around the Banksmeadow plant on Tuesday while the risk of collapse remains.