Sydney fire in Surry Hills: Video shows urban explorers inside abandoned Randle St building
An abandoned building that erupted in a spectacular fire in the Sydney CBD has been popular with urban explorers.
TikTok videos have surfaced showing the now-destroyed building in Surry Hills was a hangout for teens before it went up in flames Thursday afternoon, bringing the city to a standstill as commuters headed home.
Two 13-year-old boys have since reported to the police in connection with the fire.
A teen who posted a video of himself sitting on one of the building’s beams said he was disappointed the spot was now gone.
“It was a cool place to explore and watch the sunset… It was popularized by TikTok,” the teen said. The Daily Telegraph.
“I’ve never seen anyone light a fire, but I’m sure people do.”
Urban exploration is a popular trend where people explore little-known and often dangerous areas of a city, such as abandoned warehouses or storm drains.
TikTok videos have surfaced showing that the destroyed building was a popular place for teens to hang out and explore (pictured)
The building burst into flames on Thursday afternoon, bringing the Sydney CBD to a halt
Part of the building has already collapsed during the fire and there are concerns that the rest may follow.
Authorities issued an alert after an outer wall moved 70mm overnight, prompting them to set up an exclusion zone for another week.
Specialist teams continue to monitor the site after the landmark building was razed to the ground in Sydney’s largest fire in more than 50 years.
Unstable walls are being monitored with laser measuring tools and drones, Fire and Rescue NSW said in a statement.
“An outer wall moved 70mm during the night, reinforcing the commitment to maintain the current community safety exclusion zones,” the statement read.
“The smoldering light from deep in the rubble continues.”
The fire brigade remains on site, but it is not safe for them to enter the building to extinguish the small fires.
An exclusion zone has been established, including Randle Street and surrounding areas, including two apartment buildings.
An Emergency Operations Center has been established to coordinate the safe demolition of the damaged buildings.
The NSW Police Arson Squad continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding the fire.
Southbound lanes on Elizabeth Street reopened Friday evening.
Fire and Rescue NSW has released drone footage taken from above two destroyed buildings, revealing molten interiors and piles of rubble within the structure’s partially collapsed walls.
Entire floors have collapsed to leave a cavity in a building’s empty shell, while exploding windows and piles of brick have been left behind.
Part of the building collapsed and there are concerns the rest could follow if the exclusion zones remain
Two 13-year-olds turned themselves in at several police stations in Sydney on Thursday evening and are now assisting police in their investigation.
Acting Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police Paul Dunstan said officers are aware of “three or four” other young people present in the building and asked them to come forward with their parents to “put their side of the story.”
As far as is known, no young people who were involved in the fire were injured.
He also confirmed that up to 15 people slept in the former apartment building the night before, but thought they had all been accounted for.
No charges have been filed against the blaze, while the arson squad continues its investigation.
A local business claims it saw children running off the property shortly after the fire broke out.
Phu Tang, a locksmith who works next to the destroyed building, told reporters he saw a group of students running from the site on Thursday afternoon when it went up in flames.
He claimed he saw the group yell at their friend, who was on the first floor, to get out before fleeing.
“Those kids ran hurriedly at the corner of Randle Lane and Randle Street, looked up and talked to one of the kids still trapped in that building, asking ‘why is that kid still there,'” he said. The Sydney Morning Herald.
“They were yelling and cursing at each other and calling for that child.”
A NSW Fire and Rescue spokesman told NCA NewsWire it would be a “tragedy” if anyone had been in the building at the time.
“We will investigate everyone who is missing, but we still cannot enter the building because it is unsafe to do so,” he said.
“If anyone were inside, it would be a tragedy. It would be an absolute miracle if they survived.’
Two 13-year-olds have reported to police, who believe a large group of teenagers were near the building when it caught fire
More than 100 firefighters worked to contain the blaze, classified as the most severe fire category, as smoke billowed into the air and the brick facade crumbled.
Shocking footage captured Thursday afternoon shows the moment part of the building’s brick walls peeled off, sending up a cloud of flame and bricks falling into the street.
The fire was finally extinguished in the early hours of Friday morning after a massive effort by emergency services, who saw busy Elizabeth Street flooded Thursday evening.
The heroic efforts of the firefighters to bring the blaze under control before 9 p.m. was an incredible achievement given the very high risk that the fire could not only have spread to adjacent buildings, but could also have jumped across the street.
Firefighters also helped remove essential items from neighboring apartment buildings, including medicines and even a wedding dress for a bride due to get married on Friday.