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




Agricultural industries face serious threat: Perrett

Gympie MP Tony Perrett.

Perrett slams government move against property owners

Best Gympie win yet for Murray family at Zinc 96.1 Race Day

WINNERS: Jockey Ian Coombes, Tiverton and trainer Bob Murray after the feature race at the Zinc 96.1 Race Day on Saturday July 23, 2016.

Wrap up of racing action from Gympie race day

‘Amazing’ presence for new shop

Sue Ernst is managing Amaze Products after more than nine years of owing the shop it replaced.

Amaze products has opened a permanent store in Gympie after 7 years

Latest deals and offers

Harry's MasterChef exit makes way for all-Noosa grand final

Harry Foster congratulates MasterChef finalists Elena Duggan and Matt Sinclair after a closely-fought semi-final.

YOUNG Rocky-born cook now working in his dream job in Tasmania.

Kim Kardashian West bemused by selfie 'drama'

Kim didn't expect her naked selfie to cause the stir it did

Alicia Vikander hasn't been home since Oscars

Alicia Vikander "hasn't been home" for nearly nine months.

Tom Hiddleston not worried about relationship attention

Attention doesn't bother 'authentic' Hiddleston

Robbie Williams and Ayda Field to expand family?

Robbie Williams and Ayda Field want more children.

Licking incident bars Ariana from performing at White House

Ariana Grande has been blocked from performing at the White House

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles