Australia

Melbourne fire: School erupts in flames in South Yarra

Massive fire erupts at a primary school in Melbourne as emergency services urgently evacuate homes nearby

  • A massive fire has erupted inside a church in Melbourne suburb of South Yarra
  • Crews arrived at Christ Church Grammar School on Punt Road at about 6:30am
  • 60 firefighters battled blaze believed to have spread to school’s kindergarten
  • Residents in a one kilometre radius of fire told to be aware of embers and smoke

A kindergarten has been destroyed and a church severely damaged after a massive fire erupted 

Up to 60 firefighters arrived at the Presbyterian church on Punt Road in the Melbourne suburb of South Yarra about 6.30am on Thursday to find the church completely engulfed by flames.

Several crews worked to control the blaze at Christ Church Grammar School, an independent primary school in Melbourne’s inner-east.

The ‘intense’ fire is believed to started inside the church before spreading to an early learning centre attached to the grammar school.

A massive fire has erupted at a building in the Melbourne suburb of South Yarra (pictured)

South Yarra Primary School was in close proximity to the flames but appears to be unaffected thanks to ‘remarkable’ efforts by firefighters.

Residents in a 1km radius of the flames were told to close all exterior doors and windows to protect from smoke and flying embers. 

Images of the scene show towering flames as tall as buildings and large clouds of black smoke billowing from the scene in the city’s southeast. 

Footage from above the blackened church shows the roof had been completely destroyed by the blaze. 

Witness Diana described the flames as ‘really, really big’.

‘They’re about 10 storeys high,’ she told 3AW. 

Incident controller Mitch Simons said the rear of the church was extensively damaged while the front section remained mostly intact. 

‘It was a really intense fire,’ he told 9NEWS, adding the cause was still unknown

‘Flames were leaping up into the air quite high.’

Reports suggest crews are still working to extinguish a blaze at an early learning centre at Christ Church Grammar School (pictures is the scene in South Yarra on Thursday morning)

Reports suggest crews are still working to extinguish a blaze at an early learning centre at Christ Church Grammar School (pictures is the scene in South Yarra on Thursday morning)

Fire Rescue Victoria said firefighters were able to stop the flames spreading to the front section of the large L-shaped church.

‘The rear section and roof of the building has sustained extensive damaged,’ it said, adding the fire had been declared under control just after 8am. 

It is understood two firefighters were injured while fighting the blaze with Ambulance Victoria treating one patient at the scene. 

One suffered a hand injury from a burst hose, while the other had heat stress.  

Victoria Ambulance said one person was assessed on the scene but was not taken to hospital.  

A Christ Church Grammar School employee told the Today show the building had recently been renovated. 

He believes no one would have been inside the building when the fire took hold. 

Up to 60 firefighters arrived on the scene of the blaze at about 6:30am on Thursday, with a school believed to be in the vicinity of the fire.

 Up to 60 firefighters arrived on the scene of the blaze at about 6:30am on Thursday, with a school believed to be in the vicinity of the fire.

A watch and act alert was issued for residents in Albert Park, Cremorne, Melbourne, Prahran, Richmond, South Melbourne, South Yarra, and Windsor.

The fire caused major delays along Chapel Street with Punt Road closed between Toorak Road and Commercial Road. 

Motorists were advised to alternatively use St Kilda Road or Chapel Street as VicRoads monitor congestion and public transport movements. 

Residents in a 1km radius were told to avoid the area.

Firefighters will stay on the scene on Thursday to ensure the fire does not reignite with smoke expected to linger in the area for days. 

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