2019 Campbellfield factory fire

The 2019 Campbellfield factory fire was a major industrial fire that began in Campbellfield, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, on 5 April 2019. The size of the fire site was about 5,000 square metres (53,819.55 sq ft), and it emitted toxic smoke across the city's northern suburbs.[1] The fire was finally extinguished four days after it started.[2]

2019 Campbellfield factory fire
Date5 April 2019
Time06:40 AEST
LocationCampbellfield, Victoria, Australia
Coordinates37°38′45″S 144°56′28″E / 37.645925°S 144.9410784°E / -37.645925; 144.9410784
Non-fatal injuries2 (both serious)

The company which operated the property where the fire took place, Bradbury Industrial Services, collapsed in July 2019, leaving taxpayers to potentially foot a multimillion-dollar clean-up bill.[3] On 1 August 2019, the administrators for the company were given three months to clean up the site.[4]



The fire occurred at a waste management factory owned by Bradbury Industrial Services on Thornycroft St at 6:40 am.[5] Buildings and vehicles were turned into fireballs and chemical drums sent soaring high above the warehouse as the inferno raged for hours. A witness in a nearby suburb to the fire said he saw a "massive explosion that looked like a mushroom cloud".[1] Two other fires had broken out in the facility previously.[6]

Bradbury Industrial Services provides storage and disposal services for hazardous and industrial waste, and specialises in treating solvent and other waste from paint and related industries.[7]



Metropolitan Fire Brigade firefighters brought the blaze under control by midday on 5 April; however, the fire was not fully extinguished until four days later.[2] About thirty people were believed to have escaped the building before the firefighters arrived. At least two factory workers were hospitalised as a result of severe burns from the fire, with one employee receiving an eye injury.

The fire was initially contained within four hours by 175 firefighters.[8] Fire crews remain at the scene, using heat-detection devices to continually identify and dampen-down hotspots.[6][9] The fire forced the closure of nearby schools and businesses. Some residents fled their homes to escape toxic fumes.[10]

A number of schools and kindergartens in proximity to the fire were closed as of 7 April including:[11]



Investigations into the cause of the fire were started on 9 April, involving police, fire investigators from the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade, WorkSafe Victoria, and the Victorian Coroner.[2] Initial speculations focused on the illegal or improper storage of flammable chemical waste.[5]

The fire began less than one day after Victorian Environment Protection Authority authorities inspected the factory, and fifteen days[8] after the factory had its license revoked for storing three times[12] as much waste as it was permitted.[13] EPA's inspection on 4 April discovered 300,000 litres of chemicals inside.[14]

EPA executive director Damian Wells said the factory contained "highly flammable materials".[5]

EPA has begun an independent review into its systems and processes for dealing with toxic waste.


On 23 June 2023, the court hearing occurred at the County Court of Victoria. Bradbury Industrial Services received a fine of $2.9 million.[15] Due to the company being in liquidation, the fine won't be paid.[16]


  1. ^ a b "Melbourne factory fire may burn for days, as authorities reveal site had licence suspended". The New Daily. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Koob, Simone Fox (9 April 2019). "Arson squad to probe warehouse blaze after fireys finally put it out". The Age. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  3. ^ Company behind Campbellfield fire collapses, taxpayers could foot bill
  4. ^ "EPA sets deadline on Campbellfield chemical waste cleanup". The Age. 1 August 2019. Archived from the original on 3 June 2023.
  5. ^ a b c "Toxic fire finally contained at waste factory". 9news.com.au. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Cambellfield Fire Cleanup at Bradbury Industrial Services". Australia: ABC News. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  7. ^ Dunstan, Joseph; Rizmal, Zalika (5 April 2019). "Melbourne chemical blaze under control, but likely to burn for days". Australia: ABC News. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Campbellfield fire hazard was known before massive blaze". Star Weekly. 8 April 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  9. ^ Koob, Chris Vedelago, Sumeyya Ilanbey, Simone Fox (5 April 2019). "Campbellfield toxic fire: Warehouse operator linked to four other chemical stockpiles". The Age. Retrieved 7 April 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Fowler, Matilda Boseley, Goya Dmytryshchak, Michael (7 April 2019). "'Toxic rainbow' after Campbellfield factory fire fuels residents' fears". The Age. Retrieved 7 April 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "Campbellfield fire: List of schools, kinders, childcare centres closed due to smoke". News.com.au. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  12. ^ Turbet, Hanna Mills (5 April 2019). "Massive Campbellfield fire at factory where chemicals stored causes toxic smoke plumes". The Age. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Melbourne factory fire in Campbellfield: Bradbury Industrial ablaze as warnings issued for Broadmeadows, Coburg, Pascoe Vale". News.com.au. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Burning factory had three times as many chemicals as allowed, EPA says". The Age. 5 April 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  15. ^ "$2.9 million fine for chemical fire and stockpiles". WorkSafe Victoria. Retrieved 12 March 2024.
  16. ^ Pearson, Erin (23 June 2023). "$3m fine won't be paid: Toxic waste firm caused catastrophic fire but can't pay penalty". The Age. Retrieved 12 March 2024.