A surfboard factory has been destroyed by fire at Mona Vale.
Just after 4.00pm this afternoon (Saturday, 07 October), Fire and Rescue NSW Mona Vale Station was called to a report of a fire at Haydenshapes, a custom surfboard factory at Tengah Crescent, Mona Vale.
En route, they could see the smoke billowing over the light industrial area of Mona Vale and called for additional resources, including NSW Police and NSW Ambulance, as well as utilities to disconnect power and gas.
Over 70 firefighters and 16 appliances responded from Fire and Rescue NSW Stations across the Northern Beaches and wider Sydney, comprising Mona Vale, Avalon, Narrabeen, Dee Why, Forestville Hazmat, Manly, Willoughby, Neutral Bay, Crows Nest, Darlinghurst, Rydalmere, and the Heavy Hazmat crew from Alexandria.
Three NSW Ambulance crews, including NSW Ambulance Inspector Mark Hayes (image above), responded to the scene of the fire. Paramedics treated a male occupant, understood to be a worker at the surfboard factory, who had suffered burns in a reported explosion.
The man in his 30s had singed hair and burns to his neck and arms, but had protected his face with his arms when the initial flash fire had happened, and did not appear to inhale any of the burning gases. Paramedics gave the man pain relief and cooled his burns before taking him to Northern Beaches Hospital in a stable condition.
With the surfboard factory containing highly flammable materials such as fibreglass and resins, the fire rapidly took hold and was burning intensely within moments. As the first firefighters arrived from Mona Vale, they described fierce flames that were already coming out of the roof.
With the interior of the building already burning fiercely, and the building surrounded by other businesses, Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Scott Dodson said firefighters took the difficult but correct decision to manage the fire defensively.
“They acted swiftly to contain the fire, particularly from spreading to the auto mechanics directly behind the surfboard factory,” said Supt Dodson.
It is understood that the intense heat from the fire had begun to spread through roofing materials and the roof of the neighbouring building had begun to ignite.
Firefighters from Dee Why Station who were pre-positioned inside that business immediately detected and intercepted the fire, saving that building and the business.
Ladder Platforms from Manly and Crows Nest Station operated from the front and rear of the building, pouring water in from above to suppress the intensity of the fire.
Together with crews operating in breathing apparatus at the edges of the structure, they were able to contain the fire to the single building. The building began showing signs of heat damage, sparking fears of possible structural collapse.
With toxic smoke billowing from the premises, officers from Northern Beaches Police Area Command closed Bassett Street West to traffic. They advised the crowd of onlookers that had begun to gather to remove themselves from the vicinity of the fire and go indoors and close windows to avoid inhaling the smoke.
The amount of water put into the fire and the possibly toxic runoff was managed by hazmat crews from Forestville and Alexandria, who placed booms to prevent contaminants from entering the nearby waterway.
The number of firefighting appliances responding also proved a challenge for the local hydrant system, with a relay pump set up to feed the larger capacity hose systems of two ladder platform trucks and the needs of multiple fire crews arrayed around the structure.
Superintendent Dodson said the fire was fully under control shortly after 7.00pm, and it was reported as completely extinguished just before 8.00pm. A fire crew will remain on duty throughout the evening to ensure there are no flare-ups.
The cause of the fire is not yet known. Firefighters and police have not been able to speak to the man who was injured in the initial explosion. It is understood however that NSW Police will conduct an investigation into the cause of the fire.
No other injuries were reported.
Images: Northern Beaches Advocate
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