Firefighters say they do not know how long it will take to extinguish a huge chemical fire which has sent a plume of potentially toxic smoke streaming over Canberra. The fire broke out at a building in an industrial estate at Dacre Street in the suburb of Mitchell in the city's north at about midnight. Fire crews initially brought the blaze under control but were forced back by a series of explosions which witnesses said sent flames shooting up to 100 metres into the air at about 2:00am. This morning fire fighters were attacking the blaze with foam and water but had so far been unable to extinguish the fire.
The explosions were heard all over the city
and sent flames leaping into the night sky
Smoke rises above Canberra's hills this morningIn other developments:
Explosions from the fire rocked the nation's capital early this morning.
Residents in the suburb of Mitchell have been told to stay indoors.
But an order for people within 10km of the fire to stay at home has now been cancelled.
Students are being advised to stay away from schools in Canberra's north.
Evacuation centres have been set up at Canberra stadium and Dickson College.
Emergency services say the smoke is potentially toxic but the risk to the public has been described as low.
No cause for the initial explosion and ignition of the used electrical substation oil coolants stored on-site in drums has been released at this time.