A CAR torched in scrub behind Graham St in Moama overnight Saturday is believed to have started a fire which caused massive damage to Moama Pallets.
About 20 fire and emergency services units from NSW and Victoria battled the fire for more than five hours before getting it under control about 3am.
At its height the flames could be seen across Moama and parts of Echuca and firefighters were also hampered at some stages by exploding gas bottles in three large containers in an adjoining property.
Moama Rural Fire Services captain Toby Teasdale said while the damage bill was expected to be high, the firefighters did a spectacular job of saving surrounding businesses and buildings.
And Shane Dorgan, who owns Moama Pallets, said he could not agree more.
“They (the fire brigades) were fantastic,” Mr Dorgan said.
“No-one was hurt and although we lost a prime mover and a couple of trailers – and a lot of pallets – it could have been much worse, and they saved another prime mover” he said.
“The firies also saved our main buildings and really, we could be back at work Monday with cleaning up the mess the worst thing facing us, along with sorting out the insurance.
“It could have been a hell of a lot worse.
“I just can’t say enough about what a job all the units, from both sides of the river, did at our place on Saturday night, and through the night.”
Moama Pallets has a staff of six and a national list of clients, including the major dairy processors, for its products.
Another timber business in the same street – Nullarbor Sustainable Timber – was also threatened but quick work by the firefighters, backed up by a sprinkler system at the business, managed to stop it spreading.
At 2am RFS and CFA units were still fighting the fire’s original front in the bush, cutting down trees to create a break and putting out spot fires.
Mr Teasdale said the RFS got the call about 8pm and in the end had units from as far apart as Deniliquin and Jerilderie and Echuca, Tongala.
He said there was also a recovery van and an ambulance attended in case help was needed with fatigue or injury.
“Considering the circumstances, and intensity of the fire, the units did a great job of saving a lot of things,” Mr Teasdale added.
“Then we got a call out today (Sunday) to a shed fire in a nearby vineyard so we had to juggle that as well,” he said.
“We still have people at the scene today (Sunday) while we check for spot fires and will be liaising with NSW police about whether this will be declared a crime scene.”