HAZMAT in Australia on July 14 2017 03:47 AM (UTC).
Residents in the Melbourne suburb where an out-of-control rubbish fire is spewing toxic ash and smoke have been evacuated. Environment Protection Authority said the blaze at Coolaroo SKM Recycling factory flooding the northern suburb of Dallas with 'hazardous' fumes. Eerie photographs show masked police door-knocking houses in the suburb as fleeing motorists navigate streets shrouded in smoke. Dallas residents were told to collect their medicines, pets and lock their houses before fleeing the toxic smoke that swirled overhead. Upwards of 115 homes have been impacted by the blaze. The area set out for evacuation takes in the region surrounded by Barry Road, Washington Street, Edmund Street, Doy Street and Dallas Drive, according to The Age. A relief centre was set up at the Broadmeadows Aquatic Leisure Centre for residents driven from their homes. The inferno broke out on Thursday morning after firefighters extinguished a smaller blaze made of paper and plastic. Factory staff and nearby businesses were earlier evacuated, and a community relief centre established in Broadmeadows after smoke poured across Melbourne's north. 'We're saying it could go up to three days to put the fire out completely,' MFB deputy chief officer Ken Brown told 3AW. 'What we're trying to do over the next 24 hours is try and get the smoke down... and then we can fully extinguish this fire.' Mr Brown also said it was the fourth time the factory had caught fire in recent months, with other blazes in February, June and on Wednesday night. He said firefighters were working with the council and business owners to find out why the fires were starting and how to stop them. 'It's a mixture of cardboard, paper and plastic and they're ground up into fine pieces of stockpile ready for the recycling process,' he said. 'They burn rapidly, they burn deep-seated and they're very hard to extinguish.' Clarissa Garrow, who works directly across the road from the fire, said the blaze was 'insane'. 'No one can get in and no one can get out.' 'Ash and papers are flying everywhere. This is a regular thing, on my first day there was a fire there.' The blaze was thought to have started in a pile of recycled materials outside the Maffra Street factory shortly before 9am.