A factory in Cootamundra caught a chemical fire last Tuesday night when a small pallet consisting of the chemical zinc chloride was on a small blaze which immediately caused a chemical reaction to emit gas worsening the fire. As a result, the authorities set up a 200-metre exclusion zone wherein six homes around the area were evacuated especially those within the area of Berthong and Wills streets.
The fire and rescue team of NSW and Hazmat crews quickly responded on the scene. And a dozen people in Cootamundra were told to evacuate their homes. The 200-metre exclusion zone was set up with roadblocks that included Berthong Street, Wills Street, Hume Street and Pinkerton road.
Fully dressed in encapsulated suits, the fire and rescue team of NSW along with the Hazmat teams bravely tackled the blazing fire and worked all night to isolate the burning dangerous chemical of zinc chloride. The encapsulated suits allowed them to protect themselves from the fumes produced by the dangerous chemical.
According to Cootamundra fire captain Les Carr, they had used a forklift to move out the pallets that remained untouched, and would be placing the trouble pallet in its original position then it would be placed in a 200-litre Hazmat bin. Other emergency services also coordinated to handle the fire accident.
The fire started burning around 4:45 pm and was still not under control after an hour of defusing the situation. As a result, a call for evacuation in the nearby areas was implemented.