Firefighters rescue pets and wedding dress after building fire

Selfless firefighters and police officers rescue pets, grab residents’ medication and even save one bride-to-be’s wedding dress after a huge blaze tore through a city building

  • Fire tore through building in Surry Hills 
  • Firefighters and cops rescued pets from nearby units 

Beloved pets, much-needed medication and even a wedding dress were saved by firefighters and police officers from unit blocks after a huge fire tore through a nearby building.

Residents living in surrounding apartments of a seven-storey heritage-listed building on the corner of Randle St and Elizabeth Street in Surry Hills, near Sydney‘s Central Station, were evacuated on Thursday afternoon after it went up in flames.

The building burst into flames about 4pm and much of it, including the roof, had collapsed by 6pm. 

With nearby apartment blocks under threat, residents had to flee their homes as more than 100 firefighters worked to get the blaze under control at the 111-year-old former hat factory, which had been left derelict and unoccupied.

Fire and Rescue NSW Acting Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell said a number of pets including cats, dogs and rabbits were rescued. 

One resident who lived in a unit block near the building that caught on fire in Surry Hills thanked emergency services for rescuing his cat

The building near Sydney's Central Station burst into flames about 4pm and much of it, including the roof, had collapsed by 6pm

‘As people were evacuated last night we did start to get information from people who needed medication, who needed pets and so forth to be retrieved,’ he said.

‘We even had one lady who was due to have a wedding in Hobart and firefighters were able to go retrieve her wedding dress.

‘So that’s a very happy bride, I would imagine.’

One owner is seen clinging onto her cat after they were evacuated from their unit block

Bunnies and cats were rescued from unit blocks after a fire ripped through a nearby building

One man who lived in a nearby apartment had his beloved cat rescued after the blaze took hold.

He’d been teaching at Sydney University when he saw the news and raced home.

‘The guy who went in is a very good man,’ the resident told 10 News First outside his unit block on Thursday night while cuddling his pet who was visibly distressed by the ordeal.

‘We’ve been here for a few hours now and we’re happy to be going somewhere else.

Commuters and workers are seen watching on in horror as a fire tore through the unoccupied building in Surry Hills

‘He’s a bit terrified of the noise I think, but he’s going to be OK.’

Many of the residents evacuated have been offered temporary accommodation or are staying with friends and family.

It comes as police confirmed two 13-year-old boys handed themselves in on Thursday evening.

NSW Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Dunstan confirmed on Friday the two 13-year-olds had been inside the building at the time.

They have spoken with police after turning up separately at Paddington and Kings Cross police stations and are assisting with inquiries.

Charges have not been laid and the arson squad are leading the investigation.

Officers are also wanting to speak to three or four more children of a similar age who were also at the building at the time the fire ignited.

‘We ask them to come forward with their parents and put their side of the story forward,’ Mr Dunstan told reporters.

Mr Dunstan also confirmed up to 15 people were sleeping rough in the building the night before the fire took hold, with 13 of those accounted for. 

Police are working with government agencies to try and locate the other two people. 

Two teenagers are now assisting police with inquiries after the fire in Surry Hills on Thursday


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