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Australia news live: investigation begins into huge Sydney fire; boy to face Perth court after alleged school shooting

Key events

Authorities praise Sydney residents for quick evacuation as fire raged

Fire and Rescue NSW Supt Adam Dewberry praised people living in apartments and other buildings near the scene of the huge fire in Sydney yesterday for evacuating promptly when multiple fire alarms went off.

He also said quick-thinking firefighters prevented the flames from destroying adjacent buildings by hosing them down and stopping the fire from spreading.

“There were some fires that spread into the apartment buildings … firefighters were able to extinguish those and prevent them further penetrating into the buildings and causing significant damage.”

A wall collapses during the fire in Sydney. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AP

Supt Dewberry said it was believed the two buildings involved in the blaze were vacant.

“It was an incredibly intense fire and the age of the building, the type of construction with lots of timber frames and floors, and with that, very well seasoned and dry timber.

“Our firefighters have done a wonderful job to get on top of this fire.”

Supt Dewberry said there were no reports of injuries to members of the public and only one firefighter suffered a minor burn to his arm.


Good morning and welcome everyone to our live coverage of the Australian news day. I’m Martin Farrer and I’ll be bringing you the best of the overnight stories before my colleague Natasha May steps up to the plate shortly.

Firefighters and police will today begin their investigation into the huge blaze in Sydney that destroyed a seven-storey building next to the city’s Central station yesterday. More than 120 firefighters with 30 fire trucks battled the blaze at a heritage-listed former hat factory in Surry Hills which broke out at around 4pm, sending fiery debris crashing to the ground in Randle Street. Fire and Rescue NSW Supt Adam Dewberry told ABC News it was incredible no one was hurt in one of the city’s biggest fires in years.

Also this morning, we have an exclusive interview with Greens leader Adam Bandt. He tells our chief political correspondent, Paul Karp, that the government can’t count on his party’s support for its “weak” changes to petroleum resource rent tax. In stinging remarks, Bandt says it is not clear the changes will bring in any additional revenue and the policy was “written by the gas lobby” so “it’s not worth the napkin it was written on after a long lunch”. More on this one coming up.

A 15-year-old boy has been charged with multiple offences after he allegedly drove to a school in Perth, Western Australia and shot at a classroom as scared students hid in fear. Police last night charged him with a count of driving without authority, three counts of possessing an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, discharging a firearm to cause fear, possessing a prohibited weapon and acting unlawfully with intent to harm. The boy was expected to face the Perth children’s court this morning.

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