A coronial investigation is underway into a massive inferno that blazed for days in Melbourne’s inner-west.
Coroner Darren Bracken has instructed Victoria Police to compile a brief into the suspicious fire that destroyed a warehouse in Tottenham on August 30.
Coroners are permitted to investigate certain fires, even when the fire did not result in the death of a person.
Star Weekly last week reported warnings by authorities that the fire was so fierce investigations may never be able to determine exactly what chemicals were being stored on site.
Victoria Police arson and explosive squad detectives have been investigating the fire since it was flagged as suspicious by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.
The 14,000 square metre fire was fuelled by a range of illegally stored chemicals and materials at the site, spewing a toxic smoke plume across Melbourne’s western suburbs and heavily contaminating nearby Stony Creek and parkland.
WorkSafe has confirmed the site was not registered for the storage of dangerous goods.
A WorkSafe and EPA blitz on 110 industrial sites in the surrounding area in the fire’s aftermath identified 74 contraventions relating to the handling and storage of dangerous goods.
Coroner Darren Bracken, a former barrister and police detective, confirmed on Tuesday he was investigating the fire following requests from the MFB and the United Firefighters Union.
He said he had determined that it is in the public interest to investigate the fire and instructed Victoria Police to compile a coronial brief.
The probe will focus on determining the cause and origin of the fire and the circumstances in which the fire occurred.
Coroner Bracken also has powers to make recommendations to address any systemic issues identified during the investigation.
Work is meanwhile continuing on the removal of contaminated silt from Stony Creek.
Melbourne Water has so far removed 170 cubic metres of contaminated silt, with a further 500 cubic metres expected to be removed from the creek between the fire site and Paramount Road by next March.