Government has announced a review of the July 2017 fire at the SKM Recycling Plant in Coolaroo. The review will be conducted by the Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM, Tony Pearce).

Read a summary of the Victorian Government media release below.

15 August 2017

The Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM, Tony Pearce) will conduct a review of last month’s fire at the SKM Recycling Plant in Coolaroo.

The Coolaroo fire broke out on 13 July and burned for 11 days, sending clouds of smoke across Melbourne. At the height of the blaze, hundreds of nearby residents were urged to evacuate due to concerns about air quality.

Since the Coolaroo incident, the Government has introduced a series of improvements to keep Victorian families safe in the event of harmful fires.

Lessons learnt during the Hazelwood Mine Fire played a key role in handling the Coolaroo fire. Emergency workers used health monitoring data to make decisions about how harmful smoke and ash would be for locals, and people in the area had online access to air quality readings via the Environmental Protection Agency website.

IGEM will work closely with relevant agencies and examine key aspects of the fire including the effectiveness of the State Smoke Framework, air quality monitoring, firefighter occupational health and safety, and the Environmental Protection Authority’s processes.

The IGEM will also work closely with Emergency Management Victoria, which is undertaking a separate but complementary operational review into the incident.

A joint Government taskforce is also auditing recycling facilities to prioritise sites that require action to better protect the community.

The IGEM will deliver the report to Government by the end of November 2017.