News

Laminex factory ‘fireball’ blast leaves workers rattled

STILL IN BUSINESS: Gympie’s Laminex particle board plant on the Tin can Bay Road is back in production after Sunday’s fire.
STILL IN BUSINESS: Gympie’s Laminex particle board plant on the Tin can Bay Road is back in production after Sunday’s fire. File Photo

A SUSPECTED sawdust explosion led to a major fire at Gympie's Laminex factory on Sunday morning.

The factory, one of the region's significant employers, was damaged but not critically, according to a response from Laminex owner, the Fletcher Building Company.

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Service spokesman said the blaze led to a marathon 13-hour operation, with "21 fire fighters on the ground at the peak."

Two nearby workers escaped injury when a large fireball erupted in a section of the factory where wood fibres are pumped into presses to make fibreboard.

A handful of employees were in the immediate vicinity of the explosion.

Two of them were within metres. Neither was injured but one was said to have been "a bit rattled."

The Gympie Times has been told workmen smelt smoke about 3.30am near the plant's G2 press.

They immediately investigated and discovered flames in one of the fibre bins. The flames were extinguished with fire extinguishers.

But the fire either re-ignited or had continued smouldering. internally.

"The next minute it just went "Boosh!" and burst into flames," one fire fighter said.

"It was very loud. It was an explosion. Coals and ash shot out the side," he said.

"We got the call about 3.45am," the QFES spokesman said. "We were on site until 4.30pm.

"The damage was quite extensive and was in amongst machinery, so it was difficult to be sure it was out.

"They say it exploded in a very large fireball.

"Five fire appliances were there, with two special appliances (a long ladder vehicle and a communication centre truck with thermal imaging equipment and rest facilities).

Although the incident was spectacular, it seems the damage was contained and the employment of an estimated 200 workers remains safe.

"As of today, our manufacturing plant is fully operational," the spokesman said yesterday. The fire had caused "no impact on our ability to make product and to service our customers.

"The affected part of the plant will be cleaned up and recommissioned as soon as possible.

"There will be a thorough investigation and until this is completed we will not speculate on the cause of the fire," he said.

Gympie Times

Topics:  blast, explosion, factory, gympie, workers




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

OPINION: How to prepare your child for day care

Your kids will love childcare, but it may take some adjusting.

GETTING your child ready for day care is vital.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Next round of major works for Bruce Hwy upgrade

Previous works at the Traveston section of the Bruce Hwy.

Works on Cooroy to Curra Section C upgrade enter new phase

Fishermen using 'machine guns' to scare: ALP candidate

INTIMIDATION CLAIM: Labor Wide Bay candidate Lucy Stanton says net fishers are using guns to intimidate Teewah and Noosa North Shore residents and visitors.

Teewah netters accused of defying weapons and environment laws

32 more fabulous things to do these school holidays

There's no reason for Gympie kids to be bored these school holidays.

There's no reason for Gympie kids to be bored these school holidays

Latest deals and offers

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%