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NSW Fire Brigades fight massive factory fire at Lidcombe

Published: 14th November 2006

Late in the evening of Sunday, 12 November, New South Wales Fire Brigades (NSWFB) units were called to one of the largest structure fires seen in Sydney in recent years.

Responding to an automatic fire alarm at 9.23PM on Sunday 12 November, NSWFB firefighters attended the site in Frances Street, Lidcombe, arriving within five minutes to find a large multi-user building well alight with nearby buildings under threat.

The fire was well established in a large two-story building housing a motor vehicle parts company and a major graphic artist studio, the building containing volatile chemicals, packaging and other combustible materials which contributed to the swift spread and intense nature of the fire.

At the height of the blaze 150 firefighters from 26 stations across the Sydney metropolitan area, as well as specialist units were involved, supported by the NSW Police Service, Ambulance Service of NSW, Energy Australia, Sydney Water, Workcover and the Salvation Army.

The fire was so intense that, with flames rising up to 20 metres above the building, the roof collapsed into the heart of the blaze, followed by the walls. Firefighters were kept busy dealing with numerous small explosions from tins of paint, thinners and aerosol cans.

The surrounding residential area was evacuated, with some 100 residents from 30 nearby homes evacuated to safety, returning to their homes once the fire was under control.

The fire threatened a nearby furniture storage area however quick and effective work by firefighters prevented the fires spread to this extremely combustible facility.

The fire took five hours to bring under control, with 50 firefighters remaining at the scene to continue monitoring the situation. The fire continues to smoulder under the collapsed walls and roof and it is estimated that one to two days will be required to complete final extinguishment.

NSWFB Commissioner Greg Mullins, who oversaw the operation, praised the actions of firefighters involved, noting the swift response of the initial units and the actions of all firefighters in bringing the situation under control and protecting nearby property.