Fire rips through paper store at Visy mill

Crews from the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and NSW Fire Brigade, along with the Visy’s site-based fire truck, arrived at the mill in the rural NSW town of Tumut just before 6am on Thursday (16 December).

Up to 40 firefighters handled the blaze with the aid of breathing apparatuses and managed to bring it under control within two hours, according to the RFS.

A Visy spokesperson told ProPrint that the fire was caused by a lightning strike on an “external store area” said to be located about 50 metres from the main mill. The mill itself was unaffected by the blaze.

A Rural Fire Service spokesperson told ProPrint that while investigations into the blaze are ongoing, lightning strike was one possibility being considered. He confirmed there had been a number of lightning strikes in the area.

Visy said that the storage area contained “reject paper reels” comprising side trimmings and the offcuts of the mill’s paper production. Up to 1,000 tonnes of paper was destroyed in the fire, representing less than a day’s worth of production at the mill.

The company added that “no structural damage” was sustained in the blaze.

Fire crews remained at the scene of the blaze to monitor the still-smouldering wreckage.

The $450m plantation kraft pulp and paper mill was opened in 2001.

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