Sydney fire: Three schoolchildren ‘run away from building’ in Surry Hills before it went up in flames

Fire twist in Sydney, as witness claims he saw three schoolchildren run out of building as the city’s biggest inferno in living memory erupted

  • Building in Surry Hills burst into flames
  • Witnesses saw a group of high school students running away



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A group of high school students saw a building run away shortly before it went up in flames, a witness has claimed.

On the corner of Elizabeth Street in Surry Hills, near Central Station, a huge fire raged in the seven-storey listed building on Thursday afternoon.

More than 100 firefighters worked to bring the blaze under control at the 111-year-old former hat factory that stood empty and empty.

Phu Tang, a locksmith who works next to the building, claimed he saw a group of students running from the premises when it went up in flames.

The building caught fire in Sydney's CBD, sending thick plumes of smoke into the sky

The building caught fire in Sydney’s CBD, sending thick plumes of smoke into the sky

Mr. Tang told reporters that the group yelled at their friend on the first floor to leave before they all fled.

The building burst into flames around 4 p.m. and by 6 p.m. had collapsed almost completely, with chunks of debris falling from the roof and walls onto the street below, as thousands of horrified commuters and workers looked on.

The fire caused a ‘tornado of smoke’ and the heat could be felt up to a stone’s throw away.

Firefighters worked through the night to put out the blaze and are using a drone to monitor hot spots for possible re-ignition.

There are now concerns that building walls could still collapse without warning.

“There are two walls that are in a precarious position,” Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Adam Dewberry told the Nine’s Today program on Friday.

“We’re talking tons and tons of rocks that can fall down and become projectiles.

“That’s why we have such a strict exclusion zone, we don’t let anyone in, including firefighters, until we get the engineers in.”

More to come