Media Statement: Fire at Kimbriki

Sunday 22 March 2020

At approximately 5.15pm today a fire occurred on the public (small vehicle) transfer station at the Kimbriki Resource Recovery Centre.

Site security video shows a smoulder starting in rubbish tipped by customers earlier in the day. The fire was attended by Rural Fire Service vehicles and was quickly under control with RFS and Kimbriki staff and contractors working together to extinguish the fire.

The Kimbriki site had closed at 5pm and therefore no customers were at the Transfer Station at the time of the fire. The Transfer Station is a concrete platform where small vehicles tip mixed waste for resource recovery prior to landfilling. It consists of a concrete pad and is isolated from other all other waste material on site. By 6.15pm the fire had been brought under control and by 7.30pm it was fully extinguished.

No staff were injured or affected by this fire, however, one piece of plant equipment was damaged. The extent of the damage is not yet known and will be assessed in the investigation to be conducted in the coming days.

The fire coincides with unprecedented numbers of customers disposing of waste at Kimbriki over the weekend.  Kimbriki CEO Peter Davis commented “We can only assume this huge surge is due to householders clearing the decks in anticipation of further restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Kimbriki have made some adjustments to non-essential services but all of our staff are working hard to keep core services open for our customers.”

Although the ignition source of the fire is yet to be determined, Mr Davis believes there is a prime suspect, “We are finding an increase in rechargeable batteries turning up on the transfer station and at landfill. These batteries are highly susceptible to overheating if they are crushed or damaged. While we do our best to intercept these during inspections, their small size in amongst the large volumes of waste we are currently receiving and processing, make it very difficult to catch them all. With the additional precautions our staff are taking to follow the government guidelines and stay safely distanced from customers, it makes it even harder to spot these items.”

“Waste management is everyone’s responsibility. Batteries must not be disposed of in general waste or recycling bins. Residents wanting to dispose of batteries are requested to use the Planet Ark ‘Recycling Near You’ website to find their nearest recycling location. Small household batteries (both rechargeable and non-rechargeable) can be dropped off at Aldi supermarkets or Batteryworld stores. Kimbriki accepts used lead acid batteries for recycling.”

Kimbriki will be open tomorrow with business as usual and customers should follow directions given by the Kimbriki staff.

We would like to thank the Rural Fire Service and our contractors, Morris Civil and Australian Native Landscapes for their assistance during this incident, and the residents of the Northern Beaches for their ongoing support and endorsement of our facility.

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For enquiries relating to this media alert, please contact Joanna McNamara (Kimbriki General Manager – Communications & Customer Service) on 9486 3512.