Electrical Fire Causes Collapse of Crane in Central Melbourne

26 February , 2016

At around 3:15pm on Tuesday February 23rd, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) responded to a construction site fire on Melbourne’s busy St. Kilda Rd in Prahran.

At the on-set of the blaze, the crane driver and other site workers were immediately evacuated from the danger zone. Thankfully no-one was injured in the incident.

10 storeys up, the crane’s cabin became engulfed in flames, as dark smoke billowed across the skyline, clearly visible from the First 5 Minutes Victoria Office.

Nine vehicles and 36 fire-fighters attended the site, while a ladder platform was used to get the fire under control.

At around 4:45pm the intense heat and incurred structural damage caused the main arm of the crane to collapse onto the road, damaging a neighbouring building and a number of parked cars.

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Fire-fighters used an aerial appliance and thermal imaging cameras to check all hot spots were fully extinguished. Once deemed safe to do so, fire investigators used climbing gear to scale the crane and inspect the engine. It has been confirmed that the fire was caused by an electrical fault.

The incident has also undergone investigation by Workplace Safe officials.

Gerard Ayers from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) said the incident had sparked a state-wide review of building site cranes. Mr Ayers said it was lucky the extreme heat yesterday meant 200 workers had already finished for the day.

This incident is a strong reminder that workplace emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time. They can be caused by a number or elements, including; electrical faults, chemical reactions and gas leaks.

Being prepared can make all the difference to mitigating risk to workers and minimising structural damage.

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