Fire in Sydney in Surry Hills: Video shows urban researchers in the abandoned building on Randle Street
An abandoned building in Sydney CBD that erupted in a spectacular fire was popular with city explorers.
TikTok videos have emerged showing the now-ruined building in Surry Hills was a hangout for teenagers before it burst into flames on Thursday afternoon, bringing the city to a standstill as commuters headed home.
Two 13-year-old boys have since contacted the police in connection with the fire.
A teenager who posted a video of himself sitting on one of the building’s beams said he was disappointed the spot was gone.
“It was a cool place to explore and watch the sunset…It was made popular by TikTok,” the teen said The Daily Telegraph.
“I’ve never seen anyone light fires, but I’m sure people do.”
Urban exploration is a popular trend that sees people exploring little-known and often dangerous areas of a city, such as abandoned warehouses or storm sewers.
TikTok videos have surfaced showing the ruined building was a popular spot for teenagers to hang out and explore (pictured)
The building caught fire Thursday afternoon, bringing Sydney’s CBD to a standstill
Part of the building has already collapsed during the fire and there are concerns the rest could follow.
Authorities issued an alert after an outside wall moved 70mm overnight, urging them to establish a no-go zone for at least another week.
Special teams continue to monitor the site after the listed building was razed in Sydney’s biggest fire in more than 50 years.
Unstable walls are being monitored with laser gauges and drones, Fire and Rescue NSW said in a statement.
“An external wall has shifted 70mm overnight, underscoring a commitment to maintaining current restricted zones for community safety,” the statement said.
“The light continues to smolder deep from the rubble.”
Firefighters remain on site but it is not safe for them to enter the building to put out the small fires.
A restricted zone has been established, encompassing Randle Street and surrounding areas, including two blocks of flats.
An Emergency Operations Center was set up to coordinate the safe demolition of the damaged buildings.
The NSW Police Arson Squad is continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the fire.
Southbound lanes on Elizabeth Street reopened Friday night.
Fire and Rescue NSW has released drone footage taken over two destroyed buildings showing melted interiors and piles of debris within the building’s partially collapsed walls.
Entire floors have collapsed, leaving a void in the empty building envelope, leaving broken windows and piles of bricks.
Part of the building has collapsed and there are concerns the rest could follow as exclusion zones remain in place
Two 13-year-olds turned themselves into separate police stations in Sydney on Thursday evening and are now assisting the police in their investigation.
NSW Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Paul Dunstan said officers were aware that “three or four” other young people were present in the building and urged them to come forward along with their parents and “give their side of the story to present”.
There are no known injuries to the youth believed to be involved in the fire.
He also confirmed that up to 15 people had slept in the former apartment building the night before, but assumed they were all held accountable.
No charges have been filed for the fire and the Arson Commission is still investigating.
A local business claimed it saw children fleeing the site shortly after the fire broke out.
Phu Tang, a locksmith working next to the destroyed building, told reporters he saw a group of students fleeing the compound as it burst into flames on Thursday afternoon.
He claimed he saw the group shouting at their friend on the first floor to get out before they fled.
“These kids ran hurriedly down the corner of Randle Lane and Randle Street and looked up and spoke to one of the kids who was still stuck in that building and said, ‘Why is that kid still up there,'” he said The Sydney Morning Herald.
“They shouted and verbally abused each other and called for the child.”
A spokesman for NSW Fire and Rescue told NCA NewsWire it would be a “tragedy” if anyone had been in the building at the time.
“We will investigate any missing persons, but we still cannot enter the building because it is unsafe,” he said.
“If anyone were there, it would be a tragedy.” “It would be an absolute miracle if they survived.”
Two 13-year-olds have turned themselves in to police, who believe a large group of youths were near the building when it caught fire
More than 100 firefighters worked to contain what was classified as the worst fire category as smoke billowed and the brick facade collapsed.
Shocking footage captured on Thursday afternoon showed the moment part of the brick walls broke away from the building, sending up a cloud of flames and bricks tumbling onto the street.
The blaze was finally extinguished in the early hours of Friday after a mammoth operation by emergency services that flooded busy Elizabeth Street with water on Thursday evening.
The firefighters’ heroic effort to contain the blaze before 9pm was an incredible feat considering the very high risk that the fire could have spread not only to adjacent buildings but also to the other side of the street.
Firefighters also helped remove vital items from adjacent apartment buildings, including medicines and even a wedding dress for a bride who was due to get married on Friday.