BIKE BATTERY OR ‘METHPLOSION’? Police still investigating if Croydon fire was linked to crime

EXCLUSIVE: Police are investigating if a dangerous fire in Sydney’s inner-west over the weekend was started by an e-bike charger or possibly related to methamphetamines. Serkan Ozturk reports.

Residents of the usually quiet hamlet of Croydon in Sydney’s inner-west were woken with a bang early on Saturday morning after a fire broke out in a residential unit above a set of shops in a section of the small commercial strip of the suburb.

It’s believed the fire took hold shortly after 5.30am on August 6 in a unit located above 101 Edwin Street.

Six people who were in the unit had to escape onto a shop awning after their escape paths were blocked by the ferocity of the flames. Witnesses saw the group pleading for help as flames spread. All six were eventually rescued, with no one requiring hospitalisation.

As numerous fire crews continued to battle the blaze hours after it commenced, local residents were then sent an emergency geo-targeting message by authorities.

“Structure Fire in Croydon. Advice from Fire and Rescue NSW. Residents of Croydon and Ashfield do not go near area,” the message sent just before 9am read. “Stay away from smoke. Close window/doors/vents until further notice.”

The popular Ashfield Aquatic Centre is located nearby on Elizabeth Street, just a few hundred metres from where the fire broke out on the weekend.

The fire is said to have damaged four properties, including to the premises which house construction firm Civil Works NSW as well as property consultancy firm Creative Vision which is next door.

Soon after the fire took hold, an awful, putrid, plasticky smell had enveloped the air across the surrounding vicinity. The stench stayed in the area for most of the rest of the day.

Rumours began swirling amongst some locals that the fire may have been related to drugs, specifically methamphetamines.

One resident – who lives only two streets away from where the fire took hold – claimed the alley that backs off the fire-affected property was somewhat well-known in the area for attracting meth users.

“Even after the fire started, I saw a few people come down from that way, and it looked like they were smoking bongs or something, here on our street,” the man said.

One fire fighter who True Crime News Weekly spoke to on the scene confirmed that methamphetamine use or manufacture was a possible relevant issue for why the blaze may have started.

The rear of the fire destroyed premises which backs onto Hordern Parade (Image: Serkan Ozturk / Supplied)

True Crime News Weekly also witnessed at least two senior detectives attached to NSW Police on the scene about 12 hours after the blast had occurred continuing to investigate possible causes for the blaze.

However, one of the people to have escaped the dangerous fire has publicly come out this week to quell the suburban rumours circling the incident.

The woman, who claims to have been inside the residential unit where the fire commenced, took to social media to explain the blaze had nothing to do with drugs but was instead started by an electrical overload caused by four e-bike batteries being charged at the same time.

“I was one of six up on that awning. I was in the house and was actually the one who discovered the fire,” the woman posted to a local community page on Facebook on August 9.

“It wasn’t just one e bike it was 4 charging at the same time. The Fire Brigade determined this to be correct.”

When contacted, NSW Police told True Crime News Weekly that they were continuing to investigate the cause of the fire.

“There is no update and no charges laid at this stage. The cause is still yet to be determined,” the police spokesperson said.

“You might want to check back in again in the next few days.”

About Serkan Ozturk 201 Articles
Serkan Ozturk is the publisher of True Crime News Weekly. He is an investigative journalist and editor with a colourful career spanning across print, online, radio and television. He has had his journalism previously featured by Sydney Morning Herald, Crikey, Australian Doctor, Ruptly, Dopamine Magazine, City Hub and the Star Observer. He is a member of the MEAA.

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