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Explosion at Fonterra Plant

Radio New Zealand

Friday, September 16, 2016 (350 pm)

A raw milk silo at Fonterra’s Edendale plant in Southland has collapsed following an explosion, with emergency services at the scene.

The Fire Service said it was alerted about an hour ago that there was an explosion at the milk powder tower at the plant.

It said about six fire trucks had responded and were helping to account for workers at the site. There were no known injuries at this time but the Fire Service said it was a dangerous situation.

Fonterra said the priority at this point was making sure all staff at the plant were safe.

The manager of a nearby gas station, who did not want to be named, told RNZ that he heard a loud bang earlier in the afternoon.

The man said he could see flashing lights and a lot of activity but did not know what had happened.

Section of SH1 closed, detours in place

The New Zealand Transport Agency said State Highway 1 was closed from Mataura to Invercargill due to the incident.

The detour route was for northbound traffic to use Edendale/Wyndham Rd onto Coalpit Road, and the reverse for those travelling south.

Edendale is Fonterra’s largest operations site, with 600 people employed at the site.

Fonterra’s website said the plant had been in operating for over 133 years, making it New Zealand’s oldest manufacturing site. It processes more than 15 million litres of milk per day, about 650 tanker loads.

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