The Inner West has endured two critical house fires in the past two days after police officers suffered smoke inhalation on Monday morning after rescuing three people from a house fire in Glebe, while a fire in a Newtown boarding house on Tuesday morning claimed three lives, in an incident which police are treating as suspicious.
At about 1am on Tuesday morning, emergency services were called to a Newtown building on the corner of Probert and Albermarle streets where Fire and Rescue NSW extinguished a blaze. One body was discovered inside the building, while eight residents were able to exit the building, with three people taken to hospital.
Later on Tuesday, NSW Police said that an additional two bodies were located, while a man, aged in his 80s, remained in critical condition after being taken to Royal North Shore Hospital.
Fatal Newtown fire to be treated as suspicious, arson squad to lead investigation
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that there was an explosion at a boarding house on 117 Probert Street, which housed at least 11 guests. Mr Cotter said it was unclear what the cause of the explosion was, and that police were treating the incident as suspicious, adding that “it would be fair to say that some type of accelerant has been used”. The investigation will be led by the arson squad.
When City Hub visited the site of the fire on Tuesday, police said that experts were assessing the cordoned off site which had been declared a ‘crime scene’. No more information was available.
Police entered Glebe fire to rescue another person
Emergency services responded to reports of the Glebe fire just before 9am on Monday morning.
NSW Police were the first on the scene and assisted three occupants in leaving the burning house. The fire was on the lower ground floor of the premises and was well alight when officers arrived.
It’s understood that the police entered the premises after being told that a fourth occupant may have been asleep upstairs.
While they attempted to reach the higher level of the house, the officers retreated due to the overwhelming smoke density.
One of the other occupants, a 15-year-old boy, made his way to the rooftop while the fire he was downstairs, and was assisted by a tradesperson with a ladder who had called emergency services.
Fire and Rescue firefighters promptly arrived and extinguished the blaze shortly later.
Besides the police officers, there were no other injuries as a result of the fire.
“Fortunately [the officers have] all undergone four hours of observation and they’ve been cleared and returned to duty,” said Detective Chief Inspector Grant Watson of the Leichhardt Police Area Command.
“Police attend these situations quite regularly.”
A crime scene has been established and inquiries are continuing to determine the cause of the fire.