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Body found after huge Sydney unit blaze

Firefighters on the scene at Darlington.jpg
Firefighters on the scene.

The body of a man has been found after a massive blaze tore through an inner-Sydney apartment block.

Police and fire fighters were called to a large and intense fire on Abercrombie Street in Darlington to find the building well alight shortly after 8am on Wednesday.

It took up to 40 firefighters several hours to control the blaze, which started in the top floor unit of the 18-apartment block.

Emergency services are so far unable to go into the apartment to retrieve the body due to fears of collapse.

A man aged in his 60s who lived in the unit remains unaccounted for, and police have spoken to his next of kin.

Fire at Darlington. Picture Twitter / Dewei Zheng
The plume of smoke from the unit block. Picture: Twitter / Dewei Zheng
Firefighters battle out of control blaze at Darlington. Picture NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar
A firefighter investigates the damage. Picture NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar

A large plume of smoke was spotted from kilometres away, with locals sharing photographs to social media.

The man was one of two people living in that unit, with the other man not home at the time of the blaze according to NSW Police Superintendent Rod Hart.

Sixteen people are registered with the Red Cross as being displaced from the fire.

Firefighters were faced with an “significant and intense fire” according to NSW Fire and Rescue Superintendent Adam Dewberry.

“They did force entry and were starting to work into the unit but they were pushed back by the intense flames, they tried to cool that flame to get in and conduct the search, but it was just too intense and they were forced back,” he said.

Engineers are currently inspecting the damage done to the building before investigators can move inside.
Engineers are currently inspecting the damage done to the building before investigators can move inside. Photo: NCA Newswire / Eli Green

“We did start to see some internal collapse where the ceiling started to come down around them and they had to evacuate.”

Police and firefighters are unable to return to the unit to investigate where and how the fire started or retrieve the body yet, due to fears parts of the building could collapse.

Engineers were spotted on a cherry picker assessing the building from above, with particular concern that the brick walls could crumble and fall onto the street.

Traffic was being diverted to avoid the scene, with one northbound lane closed on Gibbons St approaching Lawson St and Lawson Rd closed off.

Drivers have been urged to avoid the area as traffic is heavy.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NCA NewsWire Photos - 30 AUGUST, 2023: NSW Fire & Rescue work to control a massive blaze on Abercrombie Street in Sydney’s Redfern. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar
About 40 firefighters battled to contain the blaze. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NCA NewsWire Photos - 30 AUGUST, 2023: NSW Fire & Rescue work to control a massive blaze on Abercrombie Street in Sydney’s Redfern. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar
A firefighter shoots water onto the blaze from a suspended cherry picker. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar

It is the one of the largest fires that has broken out in Sydney’s CBD since the inferno that gutted an abandoned warehouse in Surry Hills in May.

That blaze shut down inner-city streets, as a ball of flames exploded through windows and forced a structural wall to crash onto the footpath.

Strike force detectives have charged two 13-year-old boys over the fire last week.

They were each charged with one count of destroy property worth more than $5000 and entering enclosed land without lawful excuse.

More to come