15 Feb 2023

The Resolution X Fire – An Urgent Wake-Up Call

by Jason Allen

The Monday February 6 fire at production and hire company Resolution X’s Melbourne warehouse has spurred managing director Tim Hall to issue an urgent warning to the industry – never leave battery powered equipment charging unattended.

“We will never know for sure the exact source of the fire,” cautions Tim, “But we do know it was at the charging bench. There were a lot of batteries and there’s no way to know which one went up first. As per our policy, the charging bench should not have been left on. However, we had a quick turnaround of some fittings. There is no issue with the decisions here as everyone was just trying to look after the gig. None the less, we must all learn from this event, not just in the warehouse but also on site. The Fire Services Victoria investigators told me that now 90% of the fires they attend have a battery as the ignition point.”

“I believe this event is a wake-up call to us as an industry,” warns Tim. “If this was a case of lights left on charge overnight in a ballroom with attached accommodation, it may have been a very dangerous outcome, and way more expensive as well.”


The first signs of the fire were at 2 am with minor smoke and a smoke alarm detection. The fire took off at 2.15 with more smoke alarms and flames visible on the internal cameras at 2.22. It was only 11 minutes later at 2.33 that the first firefighter entered the building. Nine fire trucks attended, along with police and ambulance, shutting down access to Browns Road. The skylights melted and fell down in boiling globs that were hot enough to set office chairs on fire. LED High Bay fittings dropped out of the roof as did moving light test trusses, as span sets and suspension wires melted.

“The fire was hot – very hot,” confirms Tim. “One of the vertical steel beams deformed in the heat. Diffusors on our internal security lights at the far end of the factory had melted and fallen off. Plastic pallet wrap had melted all over the factory, some up to 50 metres from the fire. Closer to the fire there is a MAC Quantum Wash that is a molten black pile only 2cm high; the only way to tell what it was is by the two metal grills left. It was about 4.30 am when the site commander took us inside, as it was all under control. He said to us the first crews in had done a great job, and if they arrived five minutes later we would have lost the whole factory. I did not really believe him, but when we came back in at 7 am with daylight it was clear he was not exaggerating.”

Tim reports that thankfully, ResX did not lose much gear to the fire. “It was localised to our battery charging area, service area, training room and lunch room,” he confirms. “The fire did not reach our main storage areas or main office. We are still going though stock but everything in a road case is fine as it was sealed from the smoke and soot. It is stock not in cases in our main space that is soot damaged, and we are now sorting through it all.”


It is in fact the soot that has caused most of the damage. The residue is highly corrosive and is the enemy of electronics and metals. The factory may need its entire roof and tin walls stripped and replaced. While there is no damage to the main office area, the carpets, ceiling tiles, and insulation may also need replacing. “Apparently, the smell never comes out,” says Tim. “The lunch and training rooms will be rebuilt. The factory needs a complete rewire; new cameras, security system, and air lines. Pallet racking is to be assessed and cleaned or replaced. Hire gear-wise, anything in cases currently looks OK, but we need to externally clean the cases. In loose terms, anything electronic in the factory and not cased will be written off. Cable, drapes, truss and rigging is all to be assessed this week. We have structural engineers and metallurgists involved. We also have specialist cleaners and repairers on site.”

“From a business perspective, we are fully insured,” continues Tim. “While there will be some short term pain, we will come back bigger and better. Some bits hurt though. Three MA3 Command wings set up in the training room, never done a gig and not even paid for. New skylights that we saved for years to get that also are not yet fully paid for but sit in plastic strings on the floor. We are lucky in that we had our office back up and running by 10 am last Monday. We have moved back into our old offices next door to Lightmoves. We have been prepping larger projects out of our Sydney office after flying up additional Melbourne-based staff. Few Melbourne jobs have been cancelled or supplied by others.”

“We thank our industry friends for assisting with extra gear to cover some other work,” concludes Tim. “Through all of this, we have maintained delivering for our clients. ResX has been challenged before and we will be again. I know if we can get through a pandemic, we can get through this. We are a strong and resilient team, perhaps more so now than we ever have been. I am viewing this as an opportunity to review what we have done in the past and build back better than we were. A great opportunity that perhaps we did not need, but one we should embrace.”


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