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Fire and Rescue responds to blaze panic

The flame from a Port Botany industrial site. Picture: Twitter

The phones at Fire and Rescue NSW were ringing off the hook on Wednesday when worried residents across inner Sydney witnessed a massive flame erupting out of an industrial site at Port Botany.

A Fire and Rescue spokesperson told NCA NewsWire the large flame and subsequent plume of black smoke was a safety mechanism of the plant and not a cause for concern.

“All industrial sites are heavily regulated and have safety mechanisms in place,” a spokesperson said.

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“Basically, the flame was from diverted gas which was sent into a safety flare, and as the gas is released through the flare, it is ignited.

“The operation is performed so the site does not have an uncontrolled flammable gas release.

“As a result it gives off quite an intense flame and smoke, but there is no cause for concern.”

Fire and Rescue said it had received calls from as far as 10km away, including from Bondi.

Several videos were posted to Twitter of the controlled blaze.

The calls were frequent enough for Fire and Rescue to post on Facebook to explain the flame.

White smoke from factories around Port Botany. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
White smoke from factories around Port Botany. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
Excess gas was burnt off through a stack, creating a large flame and black smoke. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
Excess gas was burnt off through a stack, creating a large flame and black smoke. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
The smoke was visible from 10km away. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
The smoke was visible from 10km away. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

“We’ve received quite a few calls this morning from residents in (Sydney’s) eastern suburbs concerning a large plume of black smoke,” the Facebook post read.

“Upon investigation, it was found that the source of the fire and smoke was from commercial premises in Port Botany that had activated a gas venting system through a high-rise safety flare.

“As gas is vented through the flare, the gas is ignited. This ignition gave a perception that there was a large out-of-control fire.

“Thankfully, this was not the case. Fire and Rescue NSW crews attended the premises where the fire and smoke had originated from and have liaised with the occupants, and there is no cause for further concern.

“If you are ever concerned about a fire, please do not hesitate to call triple zero (000). If you are unsure of the location of the incident, the Emergency Plus app can help you pinpoint where the emergency is.”

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