Trial set over Melbourne recycling blaze

·1-min read

The collapsed company behind a recycling plant fire that caused the evacuation of hundreds of Melbourne homes and businesses is set to stand trial.

SKM Services and Robert Italiano face five charges each relating to pollution and permitting an environmental hazard.

The July 2017 fire at SKM's Coolaroo recycling plant spewed smoke over the city's north and caused the evacuation of surrounding homes and businesses.

It took 11 days to put out.

Italiano, 47, pleaded not guilty to all charges in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

SKM was not represented at the hearing. A plea of not guilty was entered on the entity's behalf.

It went into liquidation in August 2019, and Cleanaway later reached a deal for its properties, plant, equipment and other assets.

Both SKM and Italiano are accused of posing a substantial risk to public health at the Coolaroo plant.

Prosecutors argued there was enough evidence for a jury to find there had been criminal negligence, given the history of fires at the site, and the flammable and toxic nature of the material stored.

The case is due in Victoria's County Court on April 13 for a directions hearing.

SKM previously reached a $1.2 million settlement in a class action with 40 businesses and 170 individuals over the fire.