At least one of Australia’ major supermarkets will be short on pears over the Christmas period. The cause is a massive fire at a fruit storage facility.
Wednesday morning, firefighters were called to Karragullen Cold Storage, with reports of "multiple explosions" coming from the facility. It caught fire and 70 fire crews battled to contain the blaze, with the goal of keeping flames away from neighbouring properties and adjacent cool rooms about 10 metres away.
Emergency services later declared the fire a hazard, with fumes coming from the facility believed to be potentially toxic. It was eventually extinguished late on Wednesday afternoon, and the damage bill has since been put at $7 million.
Aldi says their stock will be down as a result of the blaze at the Karragullen depot. The fire has ripped through the facility, warping metal beams and damaging fork lifts and cars. It is believed around 900 bins of pears were lost in the fire, around 270 tons. Some 500 kgs of honey went up in smoke as well.
According to thewest.com.au, the storage facility supplies many of the major supermarkets which has prompted concerns about how shoppers might be impacted over the Christmas period. Woolworths is one of the major companies supplied by the facility and say its prices and product availability will not be affected.
The storage facility that burnt down is not the major part of the operation in Karragullen. The area where fruit grading and packaging is done is still intact. It is believed around 90 tonnes of fruit is still in there. An environmental health officer has been going through the facility today to determine if the remaining fruit has been contaminated and the processing can start up again.