Chemical reaction sees CFA call-out

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CFA workers at the scene of the chemical reaction Photo Credit: Daniel Eshuis

FIRE crews from brigades across the region responded to a bad chemical reaction at a Darnum milk processing factory late last week.

Toxic and corrosive gases were detected at the site, having formed as a result of two chemicals mixing together in a steel vat.

Initially the chemicals proved very difficult to pour out of the vat.

However, after considerable surveillance and detailed talks amongst members of the Emergency Management Team, the chemicals were decanted using a garden hose.

Captain of the Warragul CFA Paul Tandberg took control of the incident and requested additional resources due to the nature of the incident.

During the response Warragul brigade volunteer Steve Venville helped safely resolve the incident by coordinating necessary resources and all available information.

“A big factor in how well the incident ran was that we took the time to establish the objectives, ensure the safety of people on site (both CFA and site personnel), working with specialists to resolve the incident safely and efficiently, and working as a coordinated team”, Mr Venville said.

The Emergency Management Team, led by Captain Tandberg and firefighter Steve Venville, met every 15 to 20 minutes to discuss their progress.

Crews were able to utilise a number of on-site resources to gain a proper understanding of the situation before sending personnel into the “hot zone.”

Hazmat technicians from Hallam monitored air quality in and around the incident, ensuring personnel on-site and the public remained safe at all times.

“Quick actions from on-site personnel isolated the chemicals to a single vat, preventing the incident from becoming larger than it was,” Mr Tandberg said.

“Crews all worked well together to ensure a safe resolution to the incident.”

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