20 May 2011

Petrochemical fire to take days to put out

12:47 pm on 20 May 2011

Fire crews say it may take several days to completely put out a fire that caused a number of explosions at a petrochemical plant in south-east Melbourne.

The ABC reports 130 personnel fought the fire for nine hours to bring it under control on Thursday night.

The Country Fire Authority says the blaze ignited 500,000 litres of mineral oils inside the factory at Dandenong South, sending fireballs into the sky.

Water bombing helicopters were brought in to protect neighbouring factories and residents were warned to stay inside to avoid the thick smoke.

The CFA says it was one of the biggest fires that its crews had seen.

Liz Millar, the manager of a nearby caravan park, told ABC Radio she ran outside after hearing a loud explosion.

''It was pretty awesome to look at, even though it was a terrifying thing," she said.

''It was pretty horrifying. They'd seem to just get a handle on it then boom, you'd hear another explosion and big mushrooms would go into the air."