Workers at the Barangaroo construction site had to quickly evacuate the site after a fire re-igniting on Friday, following a previous blaze a few weeks ago.
Smouldering coals apparently re-ignited after the fire was extinguished. Workers had to scramble to safety after coals from a fire that was supposedly extinguished weeks ago reignited placing the site’s thousands of workers at risk.
Since the incident evidence has emerged which revealed that around 20 workers had been placed in danger by the site’s manager who asked them to remain on site despite it being evacuated. This has outraged the construction union.
The company responsible for the site, Lend Lease said that the evacuation plan had gone according to plan but other reports said that the company’s emergency procedure had failed. It was lucky that the fire was extinguished quickly before the fire department even arrived so no one was hurt during the incident.
The CFMEU were outraged by the fact that some workers had been asked to stay behind during the evacuation therefore placing them at risk. CFMEU state secretary, Brian Parker was apparently furious that management placed workers lives at risk and that the site’s evacuation plan had failed.
Twenty workers were apparently ordered to stay inside the site despite the impending danger from the fire and other workers being evacuated.
A lend lease employee subsequently apologised for the incident and took responsibility for the blaze.
NSW Fire and Rescue said that the fire on March 12 could have been cause accidentally when a worker using an oxyacetylene torch may have failed to put off a smoulder piece of steel which could then have fallen from one level to the other causing the blaze.
Some experts have suggested that the fire may have been caused by an extremely flammable gap filler and polystyrene moulds.
The fire brought Sydney’s city centre to a standstill and caused the site to be evacuated. There were also fears that an 11 meter high crane on the site could fall on to the street, thankfully the crane was successfully dismantled on Sunday without incident.
Fire fighters said that although it was unusual for a fire to re-ignite, a week after it had been extinguished it was not impossible.
Experts also advised that oxy-cutting in never a good idea in confined spaces which is what was taking place on the site.
A union representative was quoted as saying:
There are glaring holes … which haven’t been addressed based on what’s happen just now,’ Construction Forestry, Mining and Energy Union safety officer Michael Preston said.
Sydney’s city centre was brought to a standstill last week when a large blaze started on the construction site, which initially threatened to bring down a multi-storey crane, and thousands of workers were evacuated.
The fire caused traffic gridlock and prompted union calls for an urgent city-wide audit of construction safety standards.
Mr Preston said workers had slowly been returning to the site since last week’s fire and power was being reconnected.
‘No one really knew what was going on – to get off site or to stay on site,’ he said of Friday’s fire.