A building in Adelaide’s CBD that caught fire on Tuesday and brought the city to a standstill will be assessed for its structural integrity after the roof and the first floor of the building collapsed.
Firefighters spent the night monitoring the scene of the fire, which gutted the Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy building on Schrader Street behind the Grand Chancellor Hotel on Hindley Street.
Adelaide City Council and engineers are expected to assess the building for its structural integrity today after initial assessments deemed parts of the building were unlikely to collapse overnight, the ABC reported.
Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) Assistant Chief Fire Officer Glen Benham told 891 ABC Adelaide on Wednesday that crews were initially called to a rubbish fire.
“When crews arrived it was fully involved,” Mr Benham said.
“It had also taken hold of a car. The fire then moved into the building and moved very quickly towards Hindley Street at that time.
“Once it got into the roof of the building we realised it was going to be a very difficult job to fight the fire.”
The roof was insulated with seaweed, at practice used in building construction some 80 years ago, the ABC reported.
“They went in through restaurants in Leigh Street and found a sort of a courtyard that was not visible from the street,” he said.
“Others gained access through the Grand Chancellor.”
Thousands evacuated in city
On Tuesday, thousands of people were evacuated in Adelaide’s CBD as firefighters tackled the blaze.
The Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) said 20 appliances and about 80 firefighters attended the fire behind the Grand Chancellor Hotel in narrow Schrader Street, between Hindley and Currie Streets.
A MFS spokesman said it was likely the fire started at the rear of the three-storey building, which housed the Wing Chun martial arts academy.
The MFS said the roof collapsed and there was a risk of wall collapses. It took more than three hours for crews to extinguish the blaze.
Earlier reports were the fire started in rubbish and had since spread into a neighbouring building, which houses the Wing Chun martial arts academy, the ABC reported. The EPA confirmed there was no asbestos risk from the fire.
Buildings were evacuated and roads closed in the CBD as firefighters battled the major fire at the rear of a city hotel.
The MFS advised residents and office workers to close all windows and doors and for people to keep clear of the area.
A guest at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Sydneysider Molly Cooper, said she was doing her make-up when she smelled smoke and the alarms went off.
“When I came downstairs there were fireman and police officers everywhere. I smelled smoke through the whole building,” she said.
”I think I was the last person to leave. I didn’t expect it to be such a huge thing until I came outside.
”There were crowds everywhere, fireman everywhere … photographers.”
Two trucks with aerial equipment were used to douse the flames from above.
Firefighters were also using a hose from one the hotel’s balconies to tackle the blaze.
Police closed parts of King William, Morphett, Leigh and Currie Streets, along with both ends of Hindley Street.
Adelaide Metro said city bus services in Currie Street were being disrupted by the emergency and commuters wanting to catch Hills services needed to go to Grenfell Street.
People with respiratory issues were told to remain indoors.
– with AAP