Heritage-Listed Building in Sydney Continues to Pose Threat After Major Blaze
A major fire that tore through a heritage-listed building in Surry Hills, Sydney, has left one of its walls unstable and posing a significant threat to public safety. The NSW Fire and Rescue have been monitoring the former hat factory since the fire broke out on Thursday afternoon. The unstable walls continue to move inwards, and specialist crews are assessing them with drones. Acting Zone Commander Grant Rice said the wall had moved 75mm but that the movement was “inwards,” which is positive as it means it is less likely to collapse onto the street. However, the wall still poses a threat, and a plan for demolishing the precarious structure is underway, but there is no set timeline.
Two homeless people believed to be among 15 sleeping in the building the night before the fire have not been accounted for. An exclusion zone remains in the Surry Hills area, and nearby residents forced to flee their homes are unable to return until the site is safe. Buildings neighboring the site of Thursday’s fire are still without electricity.
The NSW Police Arson Squad continues to investigate how the fire ignited after two 13-year-old children handed themselves into Kings Cross and Paddington police stations. The two teenagers are helping with inquiries into the “once-in-a-decade” fire, while police have called for several other people to come forward.
The classic 19th-century warehouse was set to be developed into a 123-room hotel, but instead, 120 firefighters in 30 trucks battled the inferno from 4 pm on Thursday, containing it just before 6 pm. Some of the residents in neighboring buildings were forced to evacuate and remain in emergency accommodation. They were told to gather essential items, such as medication, while huge cheers greeted some of the pet rescues.
The architecture firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer won a design competition, and director Tim Greer said they had put six years of incredibly hard work into the project. The firm was devastated at the loss. “We were ready to move onto the next stage, which was the building part of the project,” he said. “The original building was complete. It had its beautiful brick facade, it had its beautiful timber floors, big timber posts and bearers, and joists and timber boards.” Mr. Greer said it showed why new buildings were now stringently designed with fire safety controls.
In conclusion, the fire that tore through the heritage-listed building in Surry Hills has left one of its walls unstable and posing a significant threat to public safety. The NSW Fire and Rescue are monitoring the site, and specialist crews are assessing the unstable walls with drones. The NSW Police Arson Squad continues to investigate how the fire ignited, while nearby residents forced to flee their homes are unable to return until the site is safe. The loss of the classic 19th-century warehouse has devastated the architecture firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, who won a design competition for the project, highlighting the need for stringent fire safety controls in new buildings.