Nearly 5,000 bales of hay have been destroyed and a production shed plant narrowly escaped serious damage in a fire in western Victoria.
- Almost 5,000 bales are destroyed in the shed fire in St Arnaud
- Production is halted but company says contracts will be honoured
- The cause of the fire is still under investigation
The blaze started at the Gilmac processing facility in St Arnaud on Sunday.
Mark Heaslip, the company’s operations manager for eastern Australia, said the shed would be demolished and rebuilt.
“The shed collapsed in a few spots but not completely. We’ll have to wait until it burns down and we can start demolishing it,” he said.
“Everything is insured so we will get it knocked down, cleared and put a new shed up.”
Mr Heaslip said a neighbouring production plant was also affected but escaped serious damage.
He said he was not sure when it would be back operational.
“There were some electrical wiring and some damage to the shed itself, but the plant has survived rather well so we are pleasantly surprised about that.
“We’re not sure how long it’s down — two weeks or two months — but we’re very grateful the plant is still in good nick and we’ll make it operational as soon as we can.”
Gilmac would also continue to honour its contracts and take hay in, Mr Heaslip added.
“Delivery will be a bit slower because we don’t have that shed for storage, but we are very positive going forward.
“We’ve also got that other site at Goornong [north of Bendigo], we’ll ramp that up.
“We’ll move some staff over there to get that running 24/7.”
CFA District 16 commander Ian Morley said about 25 fire trucks and 65 firefighters attended the blaze.
The cause of the fire is unknown and investigators have attended the scene.
“It is not deemed to be suspicious at this stage,” Mr Morley said.
“The bulk of the fire will be allowed to burn over the coming days.”