A fire broke out in a Melbourne building this morning which is said to have combustible cladding similar to the material used on London’s Grenfell Tower.

The fire started on the 22nd floor balcony of the Neo200 apartment complex at 200 Spencer Street and quickly spread to the 27th floor. Residents were evacuated and a team of 60 firefighters were able to quickly get the blaze under control. No one was harmed, aside from a man in his 20s who was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene and taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a stable condition.

According to Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) chief officer Dan Stephens, firefighters believe the building was clad with similar materials to London’s Grenfell Tower, where a fire claimed the lives of 72 people in 2017. 

While the building is made with approximately 90 percent concrete panels, there is about a 10 percent mix of ACM panels, which happens to be exactly where the fire broke out. The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

The MFB has stated that buildings over 25 metres high should not have cladding at all. 

According to the ABC, the City of Melbourne expressed concerns with the building’s combustible cladding in 2017 and owners were asked to prove that the cladding should not be removed. In light of these concerns, some increased safety measures were made such as the installation of additional fire alarms, however the cladding was not removed. This is despite the Victorian government’s crackdown on combustible cladding following the Lacrosse and Grenfell Tower fires. 

Neo200 was built by L.U. Simon, which also built the Docklands' Lacrosse building that went up in flames in 2014. 

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has declined to comment on the role of flammable cladding in the Neo200 fire until an investigation has been completed. 


Image credit: neo200.com