Last night, just before 8.30pm, emergency services were called to the Paper Mill building on Shepherd Street at Liverpool after getting reports of a fire.
The building was currently under development and was apparently unoccupied at the time.
Fire & Rescue NSW extinguished the blaze and it is believed the damages to the building were minor.
Onlookers and residents said it was terrifying, including Councillor Nathan Hagarty who saw the building alight.
At the August council meeting, Mr Hagarty had raised the concern that there was no local “bronto” fire truck to service high-rise buildings and called for one for Liverpool or St Andrews.
“I passed a motion in the last council meeting to get a bronto back in St Andrews – I’ve pressed for it for months,” he said. “The Baird Government lost the one in St Andrews so the nearest one is in Parramatta. Last night I think that was the primary vehicle used to fight the fire.
Driving down there, it was a frightening scene. Seeing the building like that was scary. I thought what if it was occupied? The government needs to act and bring back the bronto.Councillor Nathan Hagarty
“I highlighted back in the July council meeting the rate of high-rise buildings coming up in Liverpool. We need to make sure our local fire stations are equipped for these buildings. Thankfully, there was apparently no one occupying this building. But it highlights the fact we need to be more equipped.
“Driving down there, it was a frightening scene. Seeing the building like that was scary. I thought what if it was occupied? The government needs to act and bring back the bronto.”
He said he chatted with some of the firefighters at the scene to find out more about the incident.
“The fire was contained by the time I got there. But the only vehicle that could rescue people if the building was occupied was probably 20 or 30 minutes away. You shudder to think of what could’ve happened if there were people in there who needed to be rescued.”
Shadow Attorney General Paul Lynch MP also mentioned the need for a local bronto.
“Having to drag aerial appliances from all over Sydney to fight fires in high rise buildings fires in Liverpool is outrageous. These appliances were previously stationed closer to Liverpool but have been mothballed because of the State Government’s cost cutting,” he said.
“This particular building wasn’t occupied so thankfully there was no threat to residents. But if it had been occupied, the consequences would be too horrific to contemplate. The State Government should prioritise community safety, not cost cutting.”
Liverpool police established a crime scene which will be examined by specialist officers to investigate the cause of the fire.
It is not yet known if the fire was deliberately lit. Inquiries are continuing.
Coronation Property have provided a statement on the incident via Facebook.
“We would like to clarify a few details of this situation for all those concerned. A fire broke out on one of the higher floors in the residential tower (Building A) of Stage 1 currently under construction at The Paper Mill in Liverpool at around 8pm last night. First and foremost, nobody was hurt. The project is under construction and as such, no residents live in the building. Fire and Rescue NSW and Coronation Property's construction team were quick to the site and had the flames under control despite the challenges that all are faced with in emergencies of this nature on active construction sites.
“While we are not sure at this early stage what has caused the fire, NSW Fire & Rescue and officials are investigating and we will be providing an update to our valued clients and future residents when a full report is finalised. We can confirm Coronation Property comply with Australian building standards and this fire has nothing to do with the incidents of flammable cladding the UK unfortunately experienced. While the fire looked substantial when contrasted in the night sky, there appears to be no structural damage to the building and the fire was contained to formwork.
“As such, we don't believe it will affect timelines. One of our representatives following this update will post a few photos from 7am this morning so you can see how minimal the damage actually appears. We would like to take the opportunity on this feed to say thank you to NSW Fire & Rescue and the local emergency services. Their professionalism and expertise are unquestionable and the support of the local community who were active in checking with us everyone was OK. We are very relieved no one was hurt and look forward to forging ahead in delivering this great development to the community.”
- Statements by Coronation Property and comments by Paul Lynch were added on 8/9/2017, 12.45pm.