BUNNINGS Inglewood burned near to the ground Monday night, with explosions heard suburbs away and the fire smouldering well into the next day.
The Inglewood Monday Night Markets were just closing up when manager Rudy Perone noticed the fire, calling 000 just after 9pm. The area filled with thick, smelly smoke and a hazmat warning went out for residents to turn off air conditioners to keep toxic fumes out.
Neighbouring homes were evacuated, with locals quick to offer up spare rooms for the displaced. Stirling council also opened the Bob Daniels Community Centre as an evacuation centre.
The following day lasers showed a large wall at the rear of Bunnings was still moving and there were fears it would topple onto adjoining apartments.
The Voice’s graphic designer Helena Tay said she could hear the explosions from Bedford on the other side of Grand Promenade as various chemicals and gas bottles ignited.
On site amongst the ashes on 8th Avenue the following day, the Voice heard the fire started in an area containing pool-cleaning chemicals, while nearby business owners reported hearing the hardware store’s air-conditioner making odd noises in the past couple of weeks.
DFES would only say that it’s looking into all possible sources for the fire.
Stirling mayor Mark Irwin said his council had been able to roll out its on-the-ground resources quicker than the state bureaucracies, helping to house displaced residents in a local hotel.
He also flagged help for affected businesses, saying getting them through the next few weeks might be a better use for council cash than overseas aid.
Bunnings HQ wouldn’t comment on whether the smallish hardware shop will be rebuilt.
by DAVID BELL and EMILEE NEESON