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Multiple car fires in Canberra (with photos and video)

August 23rd, 2013 at 04:40am

Two separate car fires caused the evacuation of over 70 residents overnight, and many thousands of dollars of property damage.

The first fire, in the underground carpark of Condamine Court in Turner involved fourteen cars and a boat. The entire block of the apartment complex above the carpark was sealed off, and residents were evacuated. Many residents were temporarily relocated in the Rex Hotel just up the road on Northbourne Avenue.

Forbes St, Turner, blocked due to the Condamine Court fire
Forbes St, Turner, blocked due to the Condamine Court fire

Northbourne Avenue north-bound partially closed due to the Condamine Court fire
Northbourne Avenue north-bound partially closed due to the Condamine Court fire

In Jerilderie Court in Reid, a car which has not moved for at least a year was torched. Residents were evacuated from the apartments above the fire and much of the carpark has been blocked off. A HAZMAT team was called in to perform atmospheric monitoring due to concerns about toxic smoke. The torched car produced more toxic smoke than usual due to a number of tyres being stored in the car in addition to the ones on its wheels.

Witnesses reported seeing two young males running from the scene, and some police officers were sent from the scene to check surrounding blocks for any sign of the pair.

The Emergency Services Agency reports that two cars were on fire in the Jerilderie Court blaze. I did not see evidence of the Mazda next to the torched car being on fire, however as it was right next to it, there probably was plenty of fire, smoke, and water damage.

Firefighter battles the car fire in Jerilderie Court
Firefighter battles the car fire in Jerilderie Court

After most of the fire had been put out, more flames emerged from under the car's bonnet
After most of the fire had been put out, more flames emerged from under the car’s bonnet

The aftermath of the Jerilderie Court fire
The aftermath of the Jerilderie Court fire

I was able to get some footage of the Jerilderie Court fire while it was being put out, but the Condamine Court blaze had been well-and-truly extinguished by the time I was able to get over there. Here is some footage from both scenes.

Media note: A clean version (no watermark and no supers) of this footage is available upon request, in exchange for attribution. Alternatively you are free to use this video, provided that you do not remove the “Footage from Samuel’s Blog” watermark.

Update 6:07am: The police have issued a press release in which they say that, in addition to the two fires I’ve covered above, there were a bunch of other fires in garbage bins around the Civic and inner-North areas last night. The wording of the press release is ambiguous about whether there were car fires before the two I’ve noted above. Anybody with information is asked to call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000. End Update

Update 12:08pm: After a tip-off, I have discovered that the Jerilderie Court recycling bins were also decimated by fire during the night. More interestingly, the bins which are made out of plastic appear to have completely melted.

Melted bins on Jerilderie Court
Melted bins on Jerilderie Court
Melted bins on Jerilderie Court

This apparently occurred before the car fire, which fits with what I saw as there was no sign of this fire when I first arrived on the scene, and it certainly wasn’t put out afterwards, so it must have happened before the car fire. End Update

Samuel

Entry Filed under: Canberra Stories

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