An abandoned building that erupted in a spectacular blaze in the Sydney CBD was popular with urban explorers.
TikTok videos have emerged showing the now destroyed building in Surry Hills was a hangout for teenagers before it burst into flames on Thursday afternoon, bringing the city to a halt as commuters headed home.
Two 13-year-old boys have since made themselves known to police in connection to the fire.
One teenager who had posted video of himself perched 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 got popular off TikTok,’ the teenager told The Daily Telegraph.
‘I never saw anyone lighting fires, but I’m sure people do it.’
Urban exploration is a popular trend in which people explore little known and often dangerous areas of a city such as abandoned warehouses or storm drains.
TikTok videos have emerged showing the razed building was a popular spot for teenagers to hangout and explore (pictured)
The building burst into flames on Thursday afternoon bringing the Sydney CBD to a halt
Part of the building already collapsed during the blaze and there are concerns the rest could follow.
Authorities issued a warning after an external wall moved 70mm overnight, prompting them to establish an exclusion zone for at least another week.
Specialist teams are continuing to monitor the site after the heritage listed building was razed in Sydney city’s biggest 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.
‘One external wall has moved 70mm over night reinforcing the commitment to maintain the current exclusions zones for community safety,’ the statement reads.
‘Light smouldering from deep within the rubble continues.’
Firefighters remain on the scene, but it is not safe for them to enter the building to extinguish the small fires.
An exclusion zone, including Randle Street and surrounding areas, including two apartment blocks, has been set up.
An Emergency Operations Centre has been stood up to coordinate safe demolition of the damaged buildings.
The NSW Police Arson Squad is continuing to investigate circumstances surrounding the fire.
Southbound lanes on Elizabeth Street reopened on Friday night.
Fire and Rescue NSW has released drone footage taken from above two destroyed buildings, revealing melted interiors and piles of rubble within the partially collapsed walls of the structure.
Whole floors have caved in to leave a cavity inside the empty shell of a building, while exploded windows and piles of brick were left behind.
Part of the building collapsed and there are concerns the rest could follow with exclusion zones remaining in place
Two 13-year-olds handed themselves into separate police stations in Sydney on Thursday night and are now assisting police with their inquiries.
NSW Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Dunstan said officers are aware of ‘three or four’ other young people who were present at the building, and asked them to come forward with their parents to ‘put their side of the story’.
There are no known injuries to the young people believed to have been involved in the fire.
He also confirmed up to 15 people were sleeping inside the former apartment building the night before, but believed they were all accounted for.
No charges have been laid over the fire, with the arson squad continuing to investigate.
One local business claims he saw children running from the site shortly after the fire began.
Phu Tang, a locksmith who works next to the razed building told reporters he saw a group of students running from the site as it went up in flames on Thursday afternoon.
He claimed he saw the group yelling out to their friend, who was on the first floor, to get out before they fled.
‘Those kids were running hastily on the corner of Randle Lane and Randle Street, looking up and talking to one of the children who was still stuck in that building, asking ‘why is that kid still up there’,’ he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
‘They were screaming and swearing 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 inside the building at the time.
‘We will investigate anyone who is unaccounted for, but we still can’t enter the structure because it’s unsafe to do so,’ he said.
‘If there was someone inside there, that would be a tragedy. It would be an absolute miracle if they survived.’
Two 13-year-olds have made themselves known to police, who believe there was a large group of teenagers near the building when it caught fire
More than 100 firefighters worked to contain the fire, graded as the most severe category of fire, as it sent smoke churning into the sky and crumbled the brick facade.
Shocking footage taken on Thursday afternoon shows the moment part of the brick walls peeled off the building, sending a cloud of flames upward and bricks plunging to the street.
The blaze was finally extinguished in the early hours of Friday morning, after a mammoth effort from emergency services, which saw busy Elizabeth Street flooded with water on Thursday night.
Firefighters’ heroic efforts in containing the blaze before 9pm, was an incredible feat considering the very high risk that the fire could have spread to not only adjoining buildings, but leap across the street.
Firefighters also helped to remove essential items from adjoining apartment buildings including medication and even a wedding dress for a bride that was due to be married on Friday.
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