News Alerts

6:17pm Sunday 18 September 2011 – Update 29 -Mitchell exclusion zone reduced after negative test results

Thanks to the swift actions of the ESA and EPA who have conducted comprehensive sampling and testing we are now able to confirm that the test results have conclusively shown no contaminants or toxins from the fire within the Mitchell exclusion zone.

This means the exclusion zone in Mitchell will now be reduced to the factory fire site in Dacre Street and the industrial estate in which it is located.

Roads which will remain closed are Tooth Street, Dacre Street and Pelle Street.

The remaining exclusion zone is necessary because of the extensive presence of a residue which does not pose a significant human health hazard, but which can best be cleaned up under the supervision of the EPA before providing access back into the area.

Areas outside of that small exclusion zone in Mitchell are now open to the public.

As a precaution people are asked to still exercise some caution when entering Mitchell.

You should avoid disturbing any dust or other material you come into contact with and contact Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.

The water runoff from the fire has been contained by the EPA. There is no danger to Canberra’s drinking water or waterways.

Clean up operations will continue within the reduced exclusion zone in Mitchell.

All schools closed on Friday will reopen tomorrow morning as usual and cancelled Action bus services will resume.

The ACT Government is considering compensation issues around clean up costs and loss of revenue for affected businesses.

The ACT Government will continue to provide updates to the community in the coming days via the ACT Government website, social media, Canberra Connect Call Centre and the local media.

12:41pm Sunday 18 September 2011 – Update 28 – Mitchell factory fire

The Mitchell factory fire recovery is continuing to be actively and carefully managed by ACT Government agencies with additional expertise from our NSW counterparts.

The ACT Government is focused on getting Mitchell reopened but safely.

A comprehensive sampling and testing regime has been implemented by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) at the factory fire site, in Mitchell and surrounding suburbs.

The EPA is now waiting for results of the tests from Mitchell which are expected by early tonight.

Preliminary results from initial samples taken on Friday have shown no sign of any environmental contaminants.

The ACT Government will provide advice on the results to the community as soon as it is available early tonight and the impact they will have on the current exclusion zone.

Controls are still in place to prevent run off from the site and moving further into the stormwater system.

Recovery efforts at the site are continuing today. The ACT Fire Brigade remains on scene with a small amount of smoke smouldering from the fire.

The exclusion zone in Mitchell remains in place. Any business operators who want to request access to their premises inside the exclusion zone should call Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.

Roads closed include Sandford Street, Flemington Road from Randwick Road to Well Station Drive and the intersection of Old Well Station Road and Morisset Road.

2:30pm Saturday 17 September 2011 – Health and Environment Advisory

Due to smoke being carried east, northeast and southeast from the factory fire at Mitchell, ACT just before midnight on September 15, people in the path of the smoke should take basic precautions.

While the risk is low, it is possible that some toxic residue may have been deposited in the path of the smoke, with comprehensive testing currently being undertaken by the ACT Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

As a precaution people are advised to take the following steps:

• not collect drinking water from roofs or other catchments until these surfaces have been washed down;

•drain or service ‘first flush diverters’ if they are part of a rainwater collection system;

•wash fruit and vegetables picked from gardens before eating; and

•where possible, provide bore water or town water for stock rather than dam water or other exposed water.

A small amount of fire fighting foam and other material has entered Flemington Road ponds but this has been isolated and does not affect drinking water supplies.

Potentially affected waterways are being sampled regularly by the ACT EPA.

Ring Canberra Connect on 13 22 81 (from the ACT and from NSW) for more information.

Visit or follow @ACT_ESA of Twitter for the latest news from the ACT Emergency Services Agency.