Smoke visible near the roof of Allied Pickfords in Mackay following siege.
Smoke visible near the roof of Allied Pickfords in Mackay following siege. Peter Holt

Hundreds evacuated

MORE than 100 employees were evacuated as a result of a six-hour sieged in Paget yesterday.

Police set up a 700 m exclusion zone around the Central Park and John Vella drives area, while Queensland Fire and Rescue Service crews worked within a second exclusion zone, which was 200 m from the site.

Mackay Truck Parts and Repairs storeman Brett Brown was one of many who were evacuated and watched the action unfold from East Boundary Rd.

"We were at work; we saw the road blocks. Police came in and told our office staff we must evacuate the building. They said it was a bomb scare up the road," Mr Brown said.

"I just thought 'wow'. We came across the road and waited."

He said the shutdown would cause delays to the normal operation of the business.

A spokesperson from The Mac Linen said there would be delays in linen deliveries and collections from hotels around the Mackay region and mining sites.

"We (had) gas cylinders and the damage they could do if they went off, but there was nothing. I'm happy about that," the spokeswoman said.

"We'll get straight back into it at 6am (today)."

Police said the man was a previous franchisee with Allied Pickfords.

"He was having a disagreement with the company," the police spokesperson.

Lawyers representing Allied Pickfords yesterday said they didn't wish to comment about the issue.

"This matter appears to have arisen out of a protracted civil dispute with a former franchisee of my client," the spokesman said.

"Right now my client's sole concern is for the welfare of its former franchisee, and my client hopes the police are able to diffuse the situation without any harm coming to him."

A Mackay fire station spokesperson said the situation had the potential to cause severe injuries to anybody within close range.