Police investigating cause of Blacks Beach fire
UPDATE 5.30PM: Power has been restored to more than 1600 customers across Blacks Beach, Rural View and Eimeo after an earlier grassfire.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service crews extinguished the 100m by 50m grassfire burning near Donovan St in Blacks Beach Cove about 1.30pm.
Ergon Energy senior corporate communications advisor Emma Oliveri said flames from a burning shrub had triggered the network protection system after coming into contact with high-voltage power lines.
“Ergon Energy’s network protection system is designed to reduce the risk of injury to people and damage to poles and wires,” Ms Oliveri said.
“It works like the safety switch in your home, but on a much larger scale.
“Highly sophisticated protection and control systems continually monitor the network for faults, like a lightning strike or accidental contact from a vehicle and isolate the affected area.”
Ms Oliveri said Ergon could sometimes quickly restore power by reclosing the circuit breakers but in this instance, crews needed to fault-find to assess whether any damage required emergency repairs before they could safely restore power.
“Crews obviously need safe access to be able to find and fix faults, so fires and severe weather conditions can cause delays,” she said.
“The community’s patience is always much appreciated.”
A Queensland Police Service spokeswoman confirmed police were still investigating the cause of the fire but did not yet have anyone in custody.
The investigation comes after a member of the public reported they had seen a male running away from the area.
UDPATE 1:50PM: Police have been called in to help investigate how a grassfire started at Blacks Beach.
A Queensland Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said one crew remained at the scene at Donavan St but the fire was now extinguished.
A member of the public reported to police they had seen a male running away from the Blacks Beach Cove area.
A Queensland Police Service spokesman said Mackay police would now be involved in the investigation into the cause of the fire.
It is understood police are reviewing CCTV footage from a Donovan St address.
Meanwhile, 1643 customers in Blacks Beach, Rural View and Eimeo have lost power.
Ergon Energy senior corporate communications advisor Emma Oliveri said the emergency outage may be related to the fire.
“Crews are patrolling the network to locate faults,” Ms Oliveri said.
“Crews will need to assess any damage before they can provide an accurate estimate restoration time.”
EARLIER 1PM: Firefighters are currently battling to control a grassfire at Blacks Beach.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency Service spokeswoman said one crew arrived on the scene at Blacks Beach Rd and Slater Ave about 12.40pm.
She said another crew was on the way with rural crews on standby to help.
“The area of grass on fire is 100m by 50m,” the QFES spokeswoman said.
No homes are currently under threat as firefighters backburn the area in efforts to control the blaze.
It is understood Mackay police are also on the way to Blacks Beach after a member of the public reported seeing a male running away from the area.
Meanwhile, 1643 customers in the Blacks Beach area have lost power.
Ergon Energy senior corporate communications advisor Emma Oliveri said it was unclear whether the outage was connected to the fire.
“The network protection system has been triggered for some reason,” Ms Oliveri said.
She said Ergon crews were on the way to investigate.