International students among hundreds evacuated in Docklands apartment fire

IT could take up to seven days before international students can return to their homes, following the Docklands apartment blaze on Tuesday morning, which rapidly spread to the 21st floor of the high-rise building. Hieu Chau reports. 


The fire started on the second floor balcony and extended up the external face of the 21-storey apartment. Photo via Twitter @Aquabatics

A large number of international students are among the more than 300 residents affected by the Docklands apartment fire that broke out on Tuesday, causing extensive damage to balconies and external infrastructure. 

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) were called to the building on La Trobe Street at 2.24am, with some 70 firefighters battling the blaze which started on the second floor and rapidly spread to the 21st floor of the high-rise apartment complex.

While there have been no reports of any serious injuries, apartments residents have been informed by the City of Melbourne that it could take up to seven days before they can safely return to the building to live.

Residents who did not have friends or relatives to stay with sought temporary shelter at the relief centre set up by the City of Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.

The relief centre remained open till 7pm on Wednesday and will re-open from 9am to 6pm today, offering support services for affected residents – which includes emergency accommodation, counselling, Wi-Fi and phone charging outlets as well as other material aid.

In addition to the City of Melbourne Municipal Recovery Staff, the Department of Human Services and the Red Cross have also been on hand to provide support services.

Victorian Police and the MFB have ruled the fire as non-suspicious, citing an inappropriately stored piece of equipment left behind an air conditioning compressor as the cause of the fire.

If you are concerned about a family member or loved one who may have been affected by the fire, please contact the Red Cross on (03) 8327 7700. For more information and updates on the situation, please refer to the City of Melbourne’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Affected international students can also contact the Study Melbourne Student Centre for further assistance. 

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