Blaze at furniture factory
A FIRE in a Byron Bay furniture factory destroyed more than $100,000 of plant equipment yesterday, but quick action by workers and a fast response by firefighters prevented the blaze spreading.
Firefighters were called to the Eco Furniture factory shortly after 12.30pm when workers were alerted by neighbours to smoke pouring from the dust extractor outside the building.
Workers managed to contain the blaze with fire extinguishers until brigades from Byron Bay and Bangalow arrived, effectively saving the rest of the factory and preventing the flames from spreading to adjacent factories.
Carpenter and long-time employee Bill Rawlinson said at first there was only smoke, then there were “flames everywhere and we had to get out”.
After emptying four extinguishers into the smoking machine, workers quelled the blaze long enough for firefighters to arrive, before it flared back up again.
Firefighters wearing full breathing apparatus had the blaze under control within about five minutes.
While no one was injured, ambulance paramedics stayed at the scene until it was deemed safe.
A relieved owner, Rebecca Klein, was still assessing the damage yesterday and said it was too early to fully determine its cost.
“Everyone's safe, that's the main thing,” she said.
“I'm really proud of all the employees who dived in and did everything by the book.
“All staff are very fire-conscious and knew exactly which extinguishers to use ... we will assess the damage again in the morning.”
Eco Furniture, best known for its camphor laurel chopping boards, has been operating at the site for 12 years and employs four staff.
Ms Klein said every effort would be made to keep the factory running.
Tweed-Byron Local Area Command duty officer, Inspector Darren Steel, said police were investigating but there were no suspicious circumstances.
“At this stage it appears the fire was caused by a fault in the factory's extraction fan,” he said.
“No one was injured, though there was extensive damage to the extraction system.
“Due to the extent of the damage we will prepare a report for the Coroner.”