Authorities are confident there are no suspicious circumstances behind a huge explosion at a Perth chemical warehouse that shook homes and sent ferocious flames into the night sky.
The blast was triggered by a chemical fire that ripped through Chemsol Australia on Cocos Dr in Bibra Lake about 7.45pm on Monday, with reports suggesting it was felt up to 20km away.
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No injuries were reported, but one person filming from about a kilometre away as the blaze flared said: “Holy hell, man. I can feel the heat. I’m getting scared. Oh my god.”
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services issued a HAZMAT warning, fearing potentially dangerous smoke could blow into nearby homes.
At its peak, DFES had 60 firefighters battling the blaze at the operation that makes coolant for cars, and it is understood the warehouse was full of highly flammable chemicals, solvents and oils.
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DFES has since trimmed the number of firefighters on the scene to 20 after the fire was contained just before 8am.
But workers at businesses within the exclusion zone were told to turn around and go home on Tuesday.
“We’ve got teams going in, locating hotspots and extinguishing and we’re continually monitoring for the runoff and the smoke,” incident controller Damon Childs said.
No damage bill for the warehouse has been put on the table but Childs said the roof and walls had collapsed, “so it’s pretty much eradicated”.
Drone pictures painted a grim picture on Tuesday, although the property is insured.
Childs said crews did everything to contain the fire to the one property, although one other building next door did suffer some “slight” damage to a wall.
A huge blast has rocked Perth’s southern suburbs while authorities battled at a factory fire in Bibra Lake. Credit: 7NEWS
He said threats to the water table and air pollution were of concern, given the nature of the business.
“We did have some information with regards to the hazards in there,” Childs said.
“We’re getting those continually tested and monitored and at the moment the risk to the community is minimal.”
Work will continue this week to remove hazardous materials, with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s Pollution Response Unit attending the scene while the ChemCentre is providing support to DFES.
Childs expects the area to be isolated until Wednesday, when nearby businesses should be allowed to restart.
The building is a write-off, but authorities say they managed to stop the fire spreading to neighbouring businesses. Credit: 7NEWS
Authorities say they are yet to determine the cause of the blast, but believe there were no suspicious circumstances and that it was accidental.
“We’ve got some ideas, but I couldn’t confirm exactly what explosion occurred,” Childs said.
The incident was not covered by CCTV, a factor expected to further hamper the investigation.
“The information we’ve got is it was accidental,” Childs said.
Cocos Dr will remain closed tonight and a Hazmat warning remains in place.
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