London blaze raises fears of potential incident in Campbelltown

The blaze that engulfed an apartment building in London. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images
The blaze that engulfed an apartment building in London. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images

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Campbelltown and Airds Historical president Jon White, like many others, is concerned about the impact a 21-storey development would have on the heritage-listed CBC Bank building.

The proposal – on public exhibition until Monday, July 17 – seeks to incorporate the mixed use building into the historic structure which was also the former home of the Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.

However, Mr White said he also held fears for the safety of the future building’s occupiers following the blaze that engulfed a 24-storey apartment building in London on Tuesday, Sydney time.

“The proposed development of the old CBC Bank site in 263 Queen Street immediately raises concerns about safety in addition to protection of our heritage,” he said.

“The Sydney South West Regional Panel who hold ultimate approval authority in this case must be aware the 21-storey building proposed for the site has no direct street frontage.

“The access for fire [trucks] would be via two narrow lanes barely wide enough for a delivery truck.

“It should also be asked ‘how far is the reach of the longest reach fire appliance in our growing city?’

“Where is the closest fire appliance with a 10-storey reach much less one with higher reach?”

Campbelltown mayor George Brticevic has repeatedly raised his disappointment about Fire and Rescue NSW’s decision to replace an aging Bronto fire truck equipped with a 37 metre ladder and basket, with a Telesquirter equipped with a 15 metre ladder and no basket.at St Andrews Fire Station.

Cr Brticevic said he was still in favour of the Bronto as it could reach up to six floors, while the Telesquirter could only reach about three-storeys.

“Also it has a cage,” he said. “If I was in high rise I’d feel safer with a 37 metre ladder and a cage (to rescue me) rather than a 15 metre ladder with no cage.”

Though he said for any large high rise, like the CBC Bank proposal, the Bronto would be ineffective.

He said fitting-like sprinklers and modern fire fighting repellents would be installed to combat fires.

“I dare say it would be a lot different because that building in London was built in 1974,” he said.

“It’s clearly a worry but building codes and modern (fire) regulators should put us in a better position than an old building in London.”

The fire damaged lower floors of the 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road, West London. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The fire damaged lower floors of the 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road, West London. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images