UP IN FLAMES: Heavy machinery was destroyed by fire at the boat ramp below the Ballina Street bridge.
UP IN FLAMES: Heavy machinery was destroyed by fire at the boat ramp below the Ballina Street bridge. Cathy Adams

Security stepped up at Lismore worksite after forklift burnt

UPDATE 9am: SECURITY is being stepped up at the Ballina Street bridge worksite by Roads and Maritime Services after a forklift was torched on Tuesday night.

A Roads and Maritime Services RMS spokeswoman said the RMS was assisting NSW Police with their investigations into a fire last at the Ballina Street bridge worksite in which a contractor-owned forklift was damaged.

"Stage two of maintenance work on the structure started this week and work will continue as planned," the spokeswoman said.

"The lower trusses and western approach spans are being sand blasted to remove old paint so a new coat can be applied."

The spokeswoman said the RMS was taking steps to increase security at the site.

"While these additional measures are being considered machinery will not be kept onsite outside work hours," the spokeswoman said.

"Work on the bridge is expected to be completed by June next year."

 

INITIAL REPORT: EXPLOSIONS rang out across Lismore on Tuesday night as a $100,000 forklift went up in flames underneath the Ballina Street bridge and was totally destroyed in a suspicious fire.

Neighbours around South Lismore reported their homes shaking as they called triple-0 to inform police.

Lismore police sergeant Claude Toskin said just after 10pm police received numerous phone calls in relation to large explosions, a fire and smoke coming from underneath the Ballina St bridge.  

"Police and NSW Fire and Rescue attended and found a large fire was present under the bridge which is currently a work site," he said.  

People who were curious about the explosions converged on the scene and reported seeing flames lapping at the underside of the bridge.  

Others on social media reported hearing the explosions from Goonellabah.  

RMS heavy machinery was destroyed by fire at the boat ramp below the Ballina Street bridge.
RMS heavy machinery was destroyed by fire at the boat ramp below the Ballina Street bridge. Cathy Adams

Sgt Toskin said fire fighters extinguished the blaze which totally destroyed a forklift parked near the boat ramp.  

"There was a boat attached to the forklift but investigations found it doesn't appear to be damaged," he said.  

A Newcastle Fire Communications spokesman said the Goonellabah Hazmat unit was called because the fire was close to the Wilsons River.  

"Hazmat booms were put in place in the river and trenches were dug as to not contaminate the river," the spokesman said.  

Police returned to the scene yesterday morning to try and determine the cause of the fire and what machinery was damaged.  

Forensic services officers began investigating the cause of the blaze and the explosions yesterday, Sgt Toskin said, which police were treating as suspicious.  

Sgt Toskin said police were appealing to anyone with information about the fire to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.  



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