Smell and smoke has residents baffled

UPDATE: MYSTERY surrounds the stench and smoke that inundated several suburbs of Bundaberg on Tuesday night.

At about 8.45pm, Facebook users started posting their concerns online to report the smell and speculate - with some residents saying it smelled like burning drugs.

Detective Senior Sergeant Joe Hildred of the Bundaberg CIB quashed all rumours after stating the smell was not cannabis.

"We believe it was the burning of treated pallets of either pine or timber," he said.

"Because of the way the weather conditions were last night the smoke and smell stuck around."

"It was an authorised burn."

According to Public Health WA, treated or painted wood should not be burned because burning liberates the chemicals tightly bound to the wood into the smoke. The ashes may also contain residual chemicals.

The Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority stated in a 2003 report that the burning of arsenic-treated timber was of environmental concern as the smoke and ash contain high levels of copper, chrome and arsenic, all of which can be toxic to the environment.

However, it is not known what the wood was treated with.

The Bundaberg Regional Council was contacted for information yesterday and stated the burn off was not a council incident.

"Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) issues permits for fires greater than 2m in height, width and length," a council spokeswoman said.

"Smoke nuisance complaints for fires of this size should be reported to QFES."

"QFES may delegate investigations to council where the nuisance does not conflict with the Fire & Emergency Services Act 1990."

Some Facebook users complained of the stench, saying they had suffered headaches and other health concerns.

"Next time a little heads up for the asthmatics. I had so much trouble breathing last night," Leila Gaddes said.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service public health physician Dr Margaret Young said anyone experiencing breathing problems or chest pain after contact with any type of smoke should always seek medical advice immediately.

"The Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service also advises to avoid contact with smoke wherever possible by staying indoors and keeping windows and doors shut," she said.

"People who are particularly sensitive to smoke due to asthma or other reasons should consider staying temporarily with a relative or friend who is not living in an area impacted by the smoke."

When the NewsMail contacted Queensland Fire and Rescue yesterday, they were unable to provide any information on the matter.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EARLIER: IF YOU smelt something funny in the air last night, you weren't the only one.

Bundaberg residents complained of a strange cannabis type smell and a smoky haze in areas including Svensson Heights, Avenell Heights, West Bundaberg, Kepnock and North Bundaberg from around 8.45pm last night.

Detective Senior Sergeant Joe Hildred of the Bundaberg CIB said the smell was not cannabis.

"We believe it was the burning of treated pallets of either pine or timber," he said.

"Because of the way the weather conditions were last night the smoke and smell stuck around."

"It was an authorised burn."

Bundaberg Regional Council said fires more than 2m in height were the responsibility Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES).



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