Pool shop damaged in Karratha CBD chemical fire

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Emergency crews at the scene of a chemical fire near the Karratha Terrace-Balmoral Road intersection this morning.
Camera IconEmergency crews at the scene of a chemical fire near the Karratha Terrace-Balmoral Road intersection this morning. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

A chemical fire that ripped through a commercial building in Karratha in the early hours of this morning has caused more than $750,000 damage.

Firefighters were called to Poolmart Karratha on Balmoral Road just after 3am to tackle the blaze, which may have started from a chemical leak involving liquid hydrochloric acid and granulated chlorine.

Police and City of Karratha rangers also attended and managed to contain the fire after several hours and stopped it spreading to surrounding businesses in the complex.

Several surrounding businesses will be closed today to clean up toxic smoke damage.

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Poolmart Karratha owner Eric Smith said the business was badly damaged by smoke and water.

He said he was working with authorities to determine what caused the fire, which started in a storage shed.

Mr Smith said the business only stocked higher-grade chemicals that were designed not to send up huge flames in the event of a fire.

“The chemicals that we use are designed not to catch on fire,” he said. “But the downside of that is, when they combine they smoulder and give off a lot of smoke.”

Mr Smith said the shop had only recently received the chemicals and he was checking there was no problems with the batch.

Karratha police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Paul Brown said the fire appeared to have been an accident. He said some surrounding businesses had been contaminated by toxic fumes from the smoke.

Deparmtent of Fire and Emergency Services district officer Luke Mitchinson said Toxfree was now on site to clean up smoke damage at affected businesses today and they should re-open tomorrow.

Mr Mitchinson said as of late this morning, the Karratha Terrace-Balmoral Road intersection had been re-opened and there was no danger to the public from fumes in the area.

Mr Smith said his shop would be closed today but mobile service technicians would still be operating.

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