News Releases

Gas odour sparks over a 100 calls.

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12 May 2011
The MFB and the EPA have been investigating numerous reports of a “smell of gas” across Port Melbourne, Burnley, South Yarra and Toorak.

Date: May 11, 2011 
Time: 12:00  
Call Number: 3908

Address: Mobil Yarraville Terminal

The suspected source of the odour was believed to be coming from the Mobil Yarraville Terminal in Spotswood where earlier in the day there was a malfunction in the processing of a tank of waste oil. This resulted in the oil overheating and causing it to break down and a release Hydrogen Sulphide and other gaseous odours into the tank and into the atmosphere through a vent pipe.  Later in the afternoon when the weather change came through we believe the odours were carried into the eastern suburbs in quantities that were detectable by the human nose. As these odours were being carried by the wind, many residents in its path reported it a “gas leak”.  More than 100 calls were received including a call from an office block in Burnley where they had evacuated all 200 workers fearing a possible “gas” explosion.

The MFB responded fire crews across the suburbs to investigate these reports. MFB crews, using gas detection equipment could not detect any readings of gas in the areas that they responded to. Firefighters reported back that they could smell these odours but could not detect any presence of gas that would be a threat to the community.

The MFB have worked closely with Mobil staff to restrict the release of the vent gasses.  Mobil in consultation with the MFB, EPA and Victoria Police have set up a management process to deal with this situation and Mobil will work continually to remove any remaining product from the tank to ensure that there is no further release of any odour.

Officer in charge: Commander Ken Brown

For more information please contact: MFB Media & Communications on 9665 4699 or

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