2005 August: Narangba (Qld). Pesticide Chemical Fire

Explosions, fire rip through chemical factory


A massive factory fire in Narangba north of Brisbane lit up the sky overnight, as drums full of chemicals exploded.

More than 100 fire officers, police and scientific officers were called to Binary Chemicals, a weed killer manufacturer, about 10:00pm AEST.

Large drums of herbicides and pesticides exploded and nearby residents were asked to stay in their homes and switch off any air conditioning units.

Two fire officers had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service’s Assistant Commissioner, Ian McKenzie, says the situation was dangerous.

“It involved two buildings, both over 70 metres in length and 40 metres wide, and completely involved in fire,” he said.

“And those buildings have been full of 200-litre drums of various herbicides and pesticides that have periodically been exploding through the night.

“So quite spectacular fireballs and, at times, quite dangerous conditions.”

Assistant Commissioner McKenzie says the situation has now been brought under control.

“We’re trying to extinguish the fire finally and we’re maintaining a watch on all the waterways for any chemical run-off and the cloud of smoke as well to make sure it’s safe,” he said.

Police Inspector Michael Brady says it is not yet known what caused the blaze.

“It’s far too early for that,” he said.

“They’re going to make their investigations and that’ll probably be going on all through the day.”

A police spokeswoman says it is believed no-one was in the building at the time the fire started.


Narangba residents say the fire proves an industrial estate should never have been set-up in the area.

Fran Jell from the Narangba Community Action Group says the industrial area is bounded by one of the fastest growing communities in south-east Queensland.

“And new estates mean young people and young people mean children,” she said.

“And you don’t need these noxious, offensive and hazardous industries close handy to children.”