LEAPING INTO ACTION AT WENTWORTHVILLE EXPLOSION
At about 4am on Tuesday 9th October, Wentworthville shuddered as a huge explosion blew a two-story building apart, on Station St, just 400m from the PBCC Perry Street hall.
The ground floor of the building was an Afghan supermarket with an apartment above. The force of the blast catapulted an elderly man from his bedroom into the middle of the street. A second man was trapped in the inferno, buried up to his chest in bricks and rubble.
Police officers arrived minutes after the explosion and worked quickly to free the trapped man. The fire was so intense the officers could only bear the heat for seconds at a time. They had to dash in and out several times before they finally managed to free the man from the debris.
Both victims are in a serious but stable condition, and eight police officers were also admitted to hospital with burns and smoke inhalation.
The explosion caused the building to completely collapse. Glass was blown out in surrounding buildings including the shop fronts opposite. The initial explosion was felt by residents up to 2 kilometres away.
Sydney Rapid Relief Team was welcomed at 9am to set up within the police cordon and quickly set to work serving Fire Crews, Police, Ambulance, Council Workers, Utilities Workers and Media crews.
We provided bottles of cold water and soft drinks and followed up with food. Hundreds of sausages in bread were consumed throughout the morning and afternoon.
RRT would like to thank Mr James, the manager from the Udaya Supermarket, located two doors along from the disaster. Mr James willingly gave his support, providing disposable plates and extra chairs and tables.
Fire crews worked hard and managed to contain the blaze to the property affected. As the fire was brought under control and the heat taken out of the rubble, the fire fighters began to carefully clear the rubble, with the help of the council. Engineers inspected neighbouring buildings and anything unsafe was secured.
The area was soon swarming with detectives from the Arson Squad, Terrorist Squad, and fire investigation, all keen to collect evidence. Sniffer dogs quickly picked up traces of petrol, which confirmed the suspicions of the police.
At 4pm, RRT called for reinforcements to help them prepare dinner and within the hour, emergency crews were enjoying Scotch Fillet burgers followed up by chocolates and cakes for dessert.
Once the emergency workers had been well fed, RRT packed up and left at 7:30pm. The appreciation and thankfulness expressed by all made it a very worthwhile experience.