Dump fire gathers steam

By FRAZER PEARCE frazer.pearce@capnews.com.au

WHERE there's smoke there's usually fire.

However, that wasn't the case at the Rockhampton dump on Saturday night.

Concerned citizens reported seeing smoke above the dump about 11pm but a quick investigation by authorities revealed it was in fact just steam rising from huge mounds of green waste.

That was a great relief for the city council after two major blazes at the dump in the past few years and a large fire on May 30 when a load of "quicklime'' ignited and destroyed 40 cubic metres of waste.

Environmental services chairman Councillor Tony Williams said yesterday that the lime had reacted with moisture and caused nearby scrap paper to ignite.

He said initial attempts to douse the fire with water began with no-one aware that lime was there.

This only caused the fire to expand as the lime reacted to the water.

"It was like adding fuel to the fire,'' Cr Williams said.

He said experts from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service were called in and the source of the fire was discovered and the blaze quickly controlled.

He said changes had been made to prevent a repeat episode.

"The source (who dumped it) of the lime has since been located and procedures put in place to ensure that this type of lime is not disposed of at the landfill in the future,'' Cr Williams said.



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