- Worker injured in chemical fire
- About 50 employees evacuated from the facilities
One worker suffered a burn and 50 others were evacuated from a major steel mill after a chemical fire broke out at the site on Tuesday morning.
More than 11 fire engines and 40 NSW firefighters rushed to the Bluescope facility on Springhill Road in Port Kembla after six cylinders containing acetylene, a highly flammable gas, caught fire shortly after 10.30am
“The cylinders have been generating significant heat, and their exposure to flames poses a risk of explosion,” NSW Fire and Rescue said on Tuesday afternoon.
‘Fire crews have been working to protect a nearby building by applying water to impacted cylinders and keeping surrounding areas cool.
NSW Fire and Rescue deployed substantial resources to combat the chemical fire at Bluescope’s Springhill Road facility in Port Kembla on Tuesday.
‘The fire will continue to burn until the fire consumes the gas supply.
“At this time, three of the cylinders have burned out, while three remain on.”
Fifty workers were evacuated as a precaution, the fire service said, but a BlueScope manager confirmed the site was still operational.
‘The contractors were preparing a package, when one of them opened the gas cylinder. The gas was released and ignited,” the manager said.
“At this stage, firefighters continue to hose down the bottles to keep them cool and so that no others ignite while the gas burns.”
The manager said SafeWork NSW had investigated the incident and had since returned the site to BlueScope.
It is understood the worker suffered burns to his knuckles and went to hospital before emergency services arrived.
Bluescope’s Port Kembla complex, located south of Wollongong in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, is a major steelworks with an annual production capacity of more than three million tonnes of crude steel.