Investigators and hazmat teams moved in after a fire destroyed a dry-cleaning business at Brookvale.

A fire that broke out just before 9.30pm Wednesday night (08 May) at ‘Littles Dry Cleaning‘ at 123 Old Pittwater Road, Brookvale, continued to burn into yesterday afternoon (Thursday, 09 May), with fears for asbestos and chemical contamination.

Contamination fears after Brookvale fire

The roof of the burned out building is understood to be ‘Super Six‘ asbestos fibre corrugated cement sheeting. The roof had collapsed, smashing onto the ground around the building and breaking apart.

In one stroke of good fortune, it was raining steadily during the night-time fire, effectively wetting down any friable asbestos fibres released. But as the sun came out yesterday and materials began to dry out, specialist Hazmat firefighters from Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Forestville Station got to work.

Contamination fears after Brookvale fire

Firefighters suited up in hazmat suits and using a ladder platform truck from Crows Nest Station, they sprayed PVA glue over the structure to bond any of the friable asbestos material. The use of the glue had to be limited however, due to run-off concerns.

There were also concerns about run-off from the water used to fight the fire overnight. With an uncertain amount of chemicals stored within the dry-cleaning business, assessments were conducted about what may have ignited and what chemicals may have been released during the blaze.

Contamination fears after Brookvale fire

Environmental protection officers from Northern Beaches Council, SafeWork NSW, and the NSW Environment Protection Authority, were all on site, consulting with FRNSW about clean-up activity around the building.

Contamination fears after Brookvale fire

It is understood that water monitoring was also undertaken in nearby Brookvale Creek to see if any dangerous readings are present, indicating whether chemicals may have escaped containment in the run-off from firefighting activity.

FRNSW also released drone footage yesterday (video above) from the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), with infrared footage showing the hot spots within the building.

Contamination fears after Brookvale fire

Investigations into the cause of the blaze were also underway yesterday, with senior investigators present from the FRNSW Fire Investigation and Research Unit (FIRU), along with detectives from Northern Beaches Police Area Command. So far no indication as to the cause of the fire has been given.

Update 3.30pm Friday, 10 May:

Firefighters from Dee Why Station were called back to extinguish a small reignition of the fire just before 2.45pm this afternoon. While there they found a small amount of material they believed to be unsecured asbestos.

They called for specialist Hazmat firefighters from Forestville Station, who attended and neutralised the danger shortly before 3.45pm.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate
Video: Fire and Rescue NSW

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