Police formally declared a crime scene last week as they took operational custody of a fire-destroyed Sydney landmark and investigated the cause of the raging fire.
The New South Wales Fire and Rescue Service handed over the Surry Hills site to police on Wednesday, but will continue to play a role in the demolition and investigation of the building.
Police guard the site as efforts continue to declare it safe pending forensic examination and other investigations, including the deployment of corpse-sniffing dogs.
Investigations continue into whether the two men, who were part of a large group that had slept in the building the night before the fire, were in the building when the fire broke out.
A joint media statement from FRNSW and New South Wales Police said: “Police have not received a missing persons report, but investigators cannot be certain that no one is inside.”
Additional demolition machinery is expected to arrive at the site on Thursday and the rest of the wall will be demolished before investigators can enter and neighbors can return to their homes.
“Emergency operations priorities are to secure the fire site to allow for field investigations, coordinate for the safe demolition of the remaining structures, limit the impact on traffic and public transport, and The key is to limit the impact on residents and people who have been displaced from their homes, “to ensure their return to their property in a timely manner,” the statement said.
FRNSW’s Fire Investigation and Research Unit will assist detectives on the Financial Crimes Unit’s Arson Unit to determine the origin of the fire, including an investigation involving four teenage boys.
No charges have been filed.
Residents of 30-34 and 38 Chalmers Street are expected to be able to move back into their apartments within days.
But emergency services officials said 1-5 Rundle Street could take weeks before it can be used again because the building requires extensive construction.
At least 140 people have been registered as evacuees due to the fire, and many have been provided with alternative accommodation through disaster relief services.
https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2023/06/01/crime-scene-established-to-investigate-surry-hills-fire/ Crime scene set up to investigate Surry Hills fire