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Inside firefighters’ death-defying operation to drag highly-flammable hydrogen tanks away from crumbling tower near Sydney Airport before it fell and triggered massive explosion

  • Huge fire inside cooling tower at Banksmeadow factory
  • Exclusion zone spanning 800m set up on Tuesday afternoon 

A catastrophe has been averted after a cooling tower at a plastic factory caught fire

A massive evacuation zone has been set up near Sydney Airport after a cooling tower at a plastic factory caught fire, sparking fears it could fall onto hydrogen tanks.

The fire inside the 70m-high cooling tower sparked an 800m evacuation order in Banksmeadow, in Sydney’s south-east, on Tuesday afternoon just before 4pm.

A number of highly flammable tanks of hydrogen are being stored in semi-trailers in a property that neighbours the plastic plant.

If the burning cooling tower falls onto the hydrogen tanks, it could trigger a huge explosion.

Firefighters, emergency HAZMAT teams and drones are on scene to observe the fire.

It’s believed the emergency started at around 6am on Tuesday morning after flames were spotted bursting out of an exhaust stack at the plant.

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Firefighters attended to the scene but left soon after as they believed there was little risk.

They returned hours later after timber support holding up the plant’s cooling tower sustained damage. 

More to come. 

Emergency Services have set up an 800 metre exclusion zone around a Banksmeadow Recycling plant with fears it could explode after a cooling tower caught fire

Emergency Services have set up an 800 metre exclusion zone around a Banksmeadow Recycling plant with fears it could explode after a cooling tower caught fire

Tanks of hydrogen gas are being stored nearby in semi-trailers on a neighbouring property

Tanks of hydrogen gas are being stored nearby in semi-trailers on a neighbouring property

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