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Update: Coolaroo blaze under control after aggressive fire fight

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28 Feb 2017
Firefighters have made significant progress in battling a fire at a recycling plant at Coolaroo.

Crews were called to the Maffra Road factory at 3.30am after a blaze forced the evacuation of 100 workers.

More than 130 MFB and CFA firefighters have made an aggressive attack on the large factory, which measures 100 by 100 metres.

The fire was brought under control at 8.10am.

Thick black smoke billowed across the city and was visible from as far as Hoppers Crossing, the Melbourne CBD and Brighton.

The firefighting efforts have had a significant impact on fire spread and smoke has begun to dissipate.

Using foam, firefighters have attempted to smother the fire, which is burning through dense recycling materials that are processed at the plant.

Firefighters have also utilised aerial appliances, such as ladder platforms and telebooms, which can direct water at the fire from above.

MFB’s Air Operations Unit is now on scene and will deploy the Remotely Piloted Aircrafts (drones) to assess the incident. Fire Investigators will also attend the incident.

Fire agencies are receiving support on scene from Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, SES, Worksafe, DHHS, EPA, water authorities and site management.

Traffic in the area has been impacted and motorists are urged to take care.

Ambulance Victoria treated a man in his 30s at the scene for smoke inhalation.  Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing should call 000.

UPDATE: MFB's fire investigators have determined the cause of the fire to be a malfunction of the conveyor belt which caused friction and sparked the blaze.

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