Black smoke blankets Port Kembla after MM Kembla fire

A thick plume of black smoke enveloped early morning surfers at Port Kembla’s North Beach today after a fire broke out on a nearby industrial site.Just before 9am, a welder was attempting to dismantle an unused cooling tower at MM Kembla on Gloucester Boulevard when the building’s internal insulation caught alight.Mt Kembla man Shane Maloney had been enjoying an early morning surf when suddenly the air around him turned black.‘‘The smoke would have been about 100-foot high, you couldn’t see any of Hill 60,’’ he said. ‘‘It was quite spectacular, it went up pretty quick.’’Fire crews from Warrawong and Wollongong rushed to the scene and arrived to find an external wall, adjacent to the roadway, well alight.The blaze was quickly brought under control.MM Kembla chief executive Col Weatherstone said no injuries were sustained in the dramatic fire and repair work on a gaping smoke-scarred hole had already been completed.Investigations into the cause of the fire are continuing.

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