Ultimo explosion

Published: 4th February 2008

Two separate automatic fire alarms were activated in the early hours of this morning in Mountain Street at Ultimo. On arrival fire crews from Glebe, Pyrmont, and City of Sydney were confronted with the results of a major explosion. At the same time the NSWFB Communications centre were handling a large volume of Triple Zero (000) fire calls to the incident and increased the response with firefighters from Newtown, Hazmat specialists from Greenacre and two hydraulic ladder fire engines. Firefighters had to combat an extensive debris field from the blast, a ground floor shop on fire with the fire quickly spreading to a second level office area and numerous reports of people trapped on upper levels of the building. A trapped person was located on an upper level and rescued using an extension ladder as the internal stairway was blocked by fire. Firefighters administered first aid before the person was transported to hospital by Ambulance crews. Fire crews continued to extinguish the fire to maintain the integrity and viability of the internal stairway. Another casualty, who had suffered severe burns, was located by firefighters and treated by Ambulance Paramedics and transported to hospital. Fire crews continued to assist with the evacuation of approximately 1000 people, while carrying out a search of each level of the building. Once the fire was extinguished, a search of all levels was completed with no other injuries and no people in danger. The incident was then handed to the Police for further investigation. The ground floor of the nine level building was severely damaged with minor damage to upper levels. The structure was inspected by a structural engineer and declared safe and residents were allowed to return to selected parts of the building later in the day.