Tight exclusion zone remains after massive Sydney blaze
A badly damaged section of the inner Sydney building mostly destroyed by fire moved 70mm overnight as police and specialist firefighters warn it could collapse at any moment.
Demolition crews joined investigators on Saturday to assess the badly damaged structure to determine how to safely bring it down.
Acting zone commander Grant Rice from NSW Fire and Rescue told reporters the movement of the wall was inwards, lessening the potential for more debris to fall to the streets below.
"We're just keeping an eye on that at the moment. As a positive that it will not come back down on the street but we are monitoring it continuously," he said.
An exclusion zone remains in place at the Surry Hills site with the arson squad and police investigators working to determine the stability of the charred remains.
Nearby residents were ordered to evacuate late on Thursday afternoon as the blaze quickly took hold of the empty building near Central Station, with fireballs ripping into the sky, sending red hot bricks flying.
Drones and laser-measuring tools were being used on Saturday to assess unstable walls and patches of smouldering fires still burning deep within the massive piles of charred materials.
Mr Rice said crews were busy throughout the day working to put out any remaining fires, with attention turning now to when the building can be safely demolished and surrounding streets reopened.
"We are working with demolition companies and working with other services and don't have a time-frame as yet."
He said it would likely be a few days before the work could be completed and residents could return to their nearby homes.
"Our priority is actually getting everything back to normal around the area, and we will do the best we can."
About 50 people living in the area have been displaced since the inferno at the former hat factory lit up the sky, closing streets and public transport.
NSW Acting Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell said on Friday it was a massive blaze.
"This is really a once-in-a-decade type of fire," he said.
"You've got all the dry, very seasoned timber ... stacked up, the framework, the building, the floors, the staircases.
"It enabled the fire to spread very quickly vertically.
"In a sense, it's the perfect set of conditions to have a very intense fire."
The only reported injury was a minor burn suffered by a firefighter.
Teenagers spotted running from the building shortly after the blaze started handed themselves in on Thursday, with officers hoping three or four more teens present to police.
NSW Police are manning an Emergency Operations Centre at the Randle St site, co-ordinating the various agencies involved in dealing with the fallout from the fire, one of the largest in Sydney for years.
The brick-and-timber building, and a neighbouring structure formerly home to karaoke bar Ding Dong Dang, was known for regularly housing 15 rough sleepers.
The former hat factory had been vacant about four months, and there had been plans to convert the building into a 123-room, two-restaurant hotel at a cost of almost $40 million.