Fire destroys Oakey man's recycling dream

Trevor Hold retrieves copper from the burnt televisions at his Oakey recycling dump.
Trevor Hold retrieves copper from the burnt televisions at his Oakey recycling dump. Dave Noonan

UPDATE: Trevor Hold's recycling dream went up in a thick plume of black smoke when about 50 tonnes of dumped televisions caught alight at his Oakey storage depot.

His plans to stop Toowoomba's old computers and televisions from ending up as landfill began in 2007 with the Free Collect program and E-Waste collection days.

However, financial impacts the floods of 2011 and rising operating costs meant Mr Hold's enterprise was no longer viable, leaving more than 100,000 tonnes of electronic waste stockpiled at his Gayle St site since early last year.

The inferno which ignited last night incinerated about half of the dumped goods and broke Mr Hold's will to continue.

"I was very passionate about it at one stage," Mr Hold said.

"I've invested about half a million dollars in the program over five years."

He said he had no money left to complete the requirements of his development approval for the site, which coupled with reduced revenue for recycled goods, meant his plan had failed.

"I've given up.

"It's just too hard."

Mr Hold was particularly grateful to the army firefighting personal who responded quickly from the nearby aviation training base to save about 60 tonnes of dumped goods from the fire.

A spokesman from the base said 12 emergency and medical staff helped to control and manage the fire.

"Army firefighters conducted initial knockdown and protected the neighbouring properties until additional army fire appliances arrived on scene," the spokesman said.

"A small grassfire broke out along the property boundary and was quickly extinguished by army crews."

Mr Hold is in the process of a Planning and Environment Court appeal against a Toowoomba Regional Council enforcement notice issued for not complying with conditions of the development application for the property.

EARLIER: Fire crews have left the scene of last night's large fire at Oakey.

A Queensland Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said the fire scene was declared "closed" and no crews remained on scene this morning.

Fire crews had brought the fire under control and left the site by 10 o'clock last night.

THIS MORNING: A large fire destroyed parts of the Oakey industrial estate last night.

A Department of Community Safety spokeswoman said a large fire broke out at a computer dump in Gail St about 6.30pm.

Oakey resident and eyewitness Daniel Guilfoyle said military units were also assisting with the blaze.

"It was a decent size fire and the smoke was just crazy," he said.

"It was real thick and black."

Mr Guilfoyle said he followed sirens to the fire to get photos at the scene but was told to stay well clear for safety.

"When I was trying to get closer I was told to get back because it was diesel and it could be explosive," he said.









A large fire at a computer dump at Oakey. Photo Contributed
A large fire at a computer dump at Oakey. Photo Contributed Contributed
Firefighters battle the blaze.
Firefighters battle the blaze.

Topics:  blaze diesel fire industrial estate oakey qfrs

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