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Sydney flare burn-off an electrical fault

AAP logoAAP 1/12/2016 Anna Hitchings

Flames which erupted from a flare stack at a Sydney chemical plant were part of a controlled burn-off after an electrical supply fault.

The flames and smoke appeared above the Qenos polyethylene factory in Botany about 2pm on Thursday when the electricity supply was interrutped, the company said.

"As a result, the Qenos flare system was operated as part of the safe shutdown of the Qenos Botany plants. Simultaneous loss of steam resulted in the smoke associated with this flaring," Quenos said in a statement.

The plant has been shut down and the elevated flaring ceased, Quenos said.

The Environmental Protection Authority, Fire and Rescue NSW, police and local schools have been notified.

Flaring plays an important role in managing safety at the plant, the EPA said in a statement later on Thursday.

"The EPA will determine its regulatory response to this incident once the investigations are completed," it said.

Quenos was fined for a similar flaring event in 2012 even though there was no significant risk to the surrounding community.

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