Major Fire, Blacktown Mega Centre

Published: 28th March 2006

Shortly after 7.30pm on Sunday (26/02/06) the NSWFB received an automatic fire alarm call to the Blacktown Mega Centre in Sydney’s western suburbs. Two fire crews were immediately dispatched, and upon arrival six minutes later, found two offices ablaze and fire spreading through the ceiling space of a large two level home appliance and furniture retail outlet.

After requesting a 3rd Alarm response, first arriving fire crews used breathing apparatus and thermal imaging cameras to rapidly search the building before the escalating fire forced their hasty withdrawal. Fortunately, nobody was found within. The senior fire officer on scene then sent a priority radio message calling for further assistance. A 7th Alarm response saw more than 70 firefighters from 14 fire stations ultimately committed to fighting the fire. Extra resources included elevating ladder trucks, hazardous materials and rescue units were also responded, as well as the Incident Control Vehicle. An Incident Management Team comprising senior officers commanded operations, and due to the size and severity of the fire, NSWFB Fire Commissioner Greg Mullins attended to oversee operations.

As the fire rapidly took hold of the building fire crews concentrated on preventing the fire from spreading to adjacent businesses. The intensity of the fire caused the roof to collapse and concrete walls to buckle.

Working in torrential rain, firefighters worked desperately for over two hours to contain the fire. At one stage firefighters had to be taken off aerial ladders for fear of being struck by lightning as a violent storm raged overhead. The efforts of the firefighters ensured that fire spread was limited to 75% of the store, and adjacent businesses were saved. One firefighter was conveyed by ambulance to hospital with a minor injury.