‘I can taste it’: Fire pours toxic smoke on evacuated homes

INCREDIBLE photos show the full extent of a raging dump fire still burning in Cairns that forced residents to evacuate their homes due to thick toxic smoke.

Caravonica resident Di Ward woke to the sound of police knuckles rapping on her front door at 3.30am on Friday after a fire broke out in a pile of rubbish at a Lemura Sand Co quarry and recycling facility nearby.

 

 

Authorities warned the blaze was likely to burn all day and told neighbouring residents to get out for their own safety.

A huge dump fire burns in a sand quarry and recycling facility off Stewarts Rd in Caravonica. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
A huge dump fire burns in a sand quarry and recycling facility off Stewarts Rd in Caravonica. PICTURE: SUPPLIED


Ms Ward's property backs onto bushland and a small waterway that acts as a buffer between her and the facility - but she was not going to risk it.

"I looked at the fire and it was pretty intense," she said.

"There's a little water thing between us and them but I decided it wasn't worth the risk.

"Looking at the fires down south, I know how quickly they can jump containment lines, so it wasn't worth risking it to stay here.

"We basically uplifted everything that was important to us and left."

Ms Ward went to her daughter's house but could not sleep and returned to her Stewarts Rd home a while later to check on her horses.

A huge dump fire burns in a sand quarry and recycling facility off Stewarts Rd in Caravonica. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
A huge dump fire burns in a sand quarry and recycling facility off Stewarts Rd in Caravonica. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

They had all moved to the farthest edge of the paddock from the fire and noxious smoke billowing into the atmosphere.

She had a visit from firefighters at about 7.30am to tell her she should leave for at least the next three hours - although she opted to stick around.

"I didn't go to work today, I'm deciding whether I leave or not," she said at about 10.30am.

"I can smell it, I can taste it.

"This is horrible."

A huge dump fire burns in a sand quarry and recycling facility off Stewarts Rd in Caravonica. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
A huge dump fire burns in a sand quarry and recycling facility off Stewarts Rd in Caravonica. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Ms Ward said there had been another much smaller fire at the site once before since she moved to the area six years ago.

"It's never been so extreme," she said.

"It's very toxic."

Firefighters have warned residents of Caravonica, Lake Placid and surrounding suburbs to close their doors and windows and seek medical advice if they feel unwell.

Lemura Sand Co has been asked to comment.

Originally published as 'I can taste it': Fire pours toxic smoke on evacuated homes


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