Two 13-year-old boys have turned themselves in to the police following a fire that engulfed a seven-storey heritage building in central Sydney. The blaze, which required the efforts of approximately 100 firefighters to extinguish, left at least 70 residents displaced and caused significant damage to the historic structure. While 13 of the 15 people who were sleeping rough in the building have been accounted for, authorities are urging other teens believed to be involved to come forward.
The building, once home to the Henderson Hat factory, had been vacant for several years but had plans for redevelopment into a hotel. Fire and Rescue New South Wales classified the fire as a “10th” alarm status, the most severe level. The intensity of the blaze was evident as video footage showed the top level of the building collapsing onto the street. Fire and Rescue NSW successfully prevented the fire from spreading to nearby residential blocks.
As investigations into the cause of the fire continue, the New South Wales Police Arson Squad has taken over the case. An exclusion zone is expected to remain in place for seven days, impacting the transportation in and around the central area of Sydney. The incident serves as a reminder of the devastating consequences that reckless actions can have on communities and historic structures.