Numurkah silo fire put out overnight

By Alana Christensen

It remains business as usual at GrainCorp’s Numurkah plant, despite a small fire in one of the company’s silos on Wednesday.

A smoulder was detected in one of the processing plant’s grain silos at the McDonald St site about 4pm on Wednesday, with emergency authorities attending the scene.

Fire crews remained on the scene until 2am, when the smoulder in the silo, which contained canola meal, was successfully extinguished.

A number of CFA members and the Hazardous Material Response Unit were back at the plant yesterday morning monitoring the scene.

CFA operations officer Rohan Taylor said questions remained following the fire.

‘‘We’re not sure what has caused it, GrainCorp will have to investigate the processes that led to it,’’ he said.

‘‘There certainly was a risk early on, but fire crews worked well together and were able to control it very early on. The fire crews worked extremely well overnight.’’

Mr Taylor confirmed that WorkSafe Victoria had attended the scene and completed an inspection.

As a precaution, canola meal had been slowly released from the silo, which has a capacity of 800tonnes.

Despite the disruption, GrainCorp moved to calm concerns from farmers that the fire would impact upcoming harvests and processing.

‘‘We expect very little impact on our operations,’’ a GrainCorp spokesperson said.

The plant is getting a $50million expansion to increase its processing capacity and has an additional 22 semi-trailer loads pass through the plant each day.

The works will increase the capacity of the site from about 730 metric tonnes of processing a day to 1000 metric tonnes.

Dubbed Project Force, the latest investment is the second in as many years at the McDonald St plant, following the $38million Project Delta completed in 2016.