ICN helps tackle major mine fire cleanup

The Hazelwood Mine Fire in February and March 2014 created a range of immediate issues – fires in the open cut coal mine, impacts on air quality and a considerable amount of ash settling in the town of Morwell.

As the fire crews battled to control the coal fire over a number of weeks, attention turned to supporting the residents and businesses of Morwell as they tried to return to their day to day lives as quickly as possible.

One of the areas of concern was the visual impact on the town and the subsequent impact on people in Morwell whose homes and local business buildings were covered in fire residue.

It was an enormous task well outside the usual street and buildings cleaning undertaken through Latrobe City Council.  With hundreds of homes in Morwell as well as businesses in the central business area needing urgent attention, it was obvious the usual contract cleaning firms were going to need help and quickly.

The major challenge was finding companies that had the capacity to provide teams available to take on the extra workload – and that’s where the Industry Capability Network (ICN) came in.

Working with Latrobe City Council and its major contractor, the Gippsland branch of the Menzies Group, ICN Victoria was able to utilise its resources to get the message out quickly. With such a large and extended term fire, many local cleaning firms were already stretched so through the ICN Gateway supplier list, the call for assistance was made to an extended cohort of companies.

Through our extensive network, three companies were engaged to assist including a local firm that was able to gear up its workforce, another company from Melbourne and another from Townsville in Queensland.

O & M Pty Ltd, based in Morwell, was a new company that had only just registered as a supplier through ICN and was able to adapt its workforce to meet the need of the CBD clean-up.

The household clean-up was a massive task in its own right. The Boongalla Group in Braeside Melbourne was able to bring its specialised cleaning, remediation and filtration services to the task, while Project Facilities Management from Townsville was called in to provide assistance. With many years of experience in mining and construction camp management, the company was able to provide much needed support in the cleaning area.

The Hazelwood Mine Fire burned from about 45 days, causing angst to residents and businesses who wanted to return to some sort of normality.

Cleaning homes and streets were vital parts of the recovery process and with the assistance of ICN Victoria, that massive task was accomplished.