Blaze at sawmill

Close call: Excavating equipment moving the still smouldering timber pile on Saturday morning after Friday's fire at Machin's Sawmill. Photo Scott Calvin.
Close call: Excavating equipment moving the still smouldering timber pile on Saturday morning after Friday's fire at Machin's Sawmill. Photo Scott Calvin.

Investigations are continuing into a fire at Machin's Sawmill on Friday, September 6.

Wingham Fire Station captain David O'Donnell said numerous NSW Fire and Rescue and Rural Fire Service firefighters fought throughout the night to extinguish the fire.

He described the conditions as intense with strong winds and difficult terrain hampering efforts of firefighters to gain the upper hand.

"Our main concern was to keep the infrastructure and machinery from being impacted," captain O'Donnell said.

"Fortunately we were able to minimise the impact but with the wind it was difficult."

A large pile of fire wood - estimated to be around 1000 tonnes - was the main focus of the blaze.

"It took a lot to extinguish," said captain O'Donnell.

Firefighting crews still on the scene Saturday morning at Machin's Sawmill.

Firefighting crews still on the scene Saturday morning at Machin's Sawmill.

Onsite excavators were utilised to move the timber and the area was dowsed in foam to ensure the extinguished sawdust wouldn't re-ignite.

It is believed at least ten NSW Fire and Rescue crews as well RFS firefighters were on the scene coming from as far as Port Macquarie and Kempsey to assist local units.

By 7am on Saturday morning it was reported the fire had been contained and the mill had been saved.

This was welcome news for Machin's manager Ralph Blenkin.

He got a phone call around 8pm on Friday alerting him to the blaze.

He believes an earlier grass fire had flared back up and spread to the timber at the mill.

Arriving on the scene to see the huge orange flames filling the night sky Ralph's first thought was that it was more serious than he had originally realised.

Fortunately the damage was only minor and the clean up was able to begin once firefighters had left on Saturday.

On Monday electricians were on site repairing burnt wires and some conveyor belts with the mill expected to re-open on Tuesday.

Fortunately there were no reports of anybody being injured in the fire and Machin's premium timber products were undamaged.

The cause of the fire is not being treated as suspicious.