On Sunday 19 August, a fire in the diesel burners attached to the steam boiler at MSF Sugar’s Maryborough Mill caused a halt to operations and an emergency evacuation of the site.
The fire occurred just before 11pm and was discovered by the shift supervisor soon after it started, who immediately dialed triple zero before safely leading the site through emergency factory shutdown procedures.
A total of 13 people were onsite at the time of the fire and within 15 minutes of the fire being discovered the factory had been shut down, the diesel and power supply to the boiler had been isolated, and all personnel had been evacuated safely.
Combined with a quick response by emergency crews, which included fire, police and ambulance services, the fire was extinguished before midnight.
While visually it appeared that the fire had engulfed three levels prior to being extinguished, on close inspection this morning investigations have shown some damage to the boiler’s electrical wiring, but no structural damage to the boiler or surrounding mill infrastructure.
As explained by MSF Sugar’s General Manager Maryborough Stewart Norton, “our initial investigations have shown that there is damage to lighting and control wiring, and to air lines and air rams which combined, has rendered the boiler inoperable at this time.
“However it does not appear that any major wiring or structure has been damaged.
“We estimate that it will now take 3 days to complete our assessment and to strip out and replace all of the materials that have been burnt”.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland released the boiler back to MSF Sugar at 10:15am.
Mr. Norton praised the quick actions of the shift supervisor who managed the response to the emergency.
“While we practice emergency drills as part of our operation, real life situations are the ultimate test.
Without the quick actions of our shift supervisor overnight, the end result could have been very different”.