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‘This could be worst fire Toowoomba has seen’

13 June 2017 7:35 PM
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‘This could be worst fire Toowoomba has seen’

WITNESSES have described seeing a wall of fire erupt from the Amigo’s Bar and Grill in Margaret Street, Toowoomba.

The Toowoomba Chronicle reports that at 2am firefighters were still battling to bring under control a massive fire that started in the Toowoomba CBD about 11pm.

Multiple firefighting crews are battling the blaze which has engulfed the bar and forced the evacuation of Quest Toowoomba apartments, which features a heritage-listed church at the front of the building.

Police closed off Margaret St from Neil St to Hume St and had ambulance services are on standby but no injuries have been reported.

By 6.15am firefighters had finally managed to extinguish the massive blaze.

Newscorp understands all the guests from Quest Toowoomba have been safely accounted for.

Numerous buildings have been damaged by the fire including Amigo’s Bar and Grill, which appears completely destroyed, the Canberra Building and Quest Apartments.

Witnesses at the scene said the fire smouldered for a time after 11pm and suddenly burst into flames about 11.30pm.

The flames reached about the height of Quest Toowoomba and were spread over a large area.

The Queensland Police service made a PSPA Declaration due to a “serious fire” in Margaret St about 1.10am.

“The affected area is bound by Margaret St, Neil St, Chalk Ln and Hume St. Please avoid area if possible,” a spokesman said.

Brett Davies was staying in Quest Toowoomba when a fire alarm went off about 11.30pm.

“A fire alarm went off and we were evacuated out, at which we were very aware that the restaurant next door to Quest was very much on fire.

Mr Davies said the evacuation was orderly but many of the guests left with only their clothes.

“Most people left without too much with them, there was an expectation they were going to go back in, certainly very soon.

“It doesn’t look like we’re going to get back in there any time soon.”

Mr Davies left with only his phone, which he said was running low on battery.

Guests from the apartment were sent in taxis to alternative accommodation about 1am.

Nina Hay was with some friends on Chalk Dr and Ruthven St when she smelled smoke about 11pm.

“We thought we’d come and have a look and see what was going on,” she said.

“We came down and the building was up in smoke, not long after that it caught fire.”

The witnesses watched as the fire smouldered for about 30 minutes before flames took hold, reaching about the height of Quest Toowoomba.

The door of the Canberra Building caught fire due to the ferocity of the blaze.

“Police are investigating following a building fire in Toowoomba late last night.

At around 11.30pm, emergency services were called to a restaurant on Margaret Street after witnesses observed smoke coming from the front doors.

Due to the extent of the blaze, a PSPA declaration was made for the area bounded by Margaret Street, Neil Street, Chalk Lane and Hume Street.

The building suffered major structural damage as a result of the flames with damage also being caused to surrounding buildings.

A crime scene has been established and forensic officers will investigate.”

EARLIER: Firefighters battled to contain a severe fire in Toowoomba overnight that has ripped through three buildings and forced the evacuation of an apartment block.

Police have declared an emergency situation with roads surrounding the Margaret St scene now blocked off.

There have been no reports of injuries and a QFES spokeswoman said everyone has been accounted for.

The Quest Apartment building, diagonally behind the restaurant, has been evacuated for safety.

The emergency declaration has blocked off Margaret St, Neil St, Chalk Lane and Hume St.

The Queensland Police Service media branch said inspectors told them this is probably the worst fire Toowoomba has seen.

Also read: Murphys Creek bushfire: waterbombing aircraft called in

Source: couriermail.com.au

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