Residents call on Ku-ring-gai Council to fix Killara ‘death trap’ and avoid another London-style fire
Daily Telegraph
Ben Pike
14 July 2017

This 39-unit building in Killara is so dangerous, fire officials have called on the council to repair it. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

EIGHTY people have been living for seven years in a Sydney unit block labelled a death trap since its appallingly inadequate fire safety system was allegedly covered up by false fire safety reports.

The 39-unit building in Killara, on Sydney’s north shore, is so dangerous NSW’s top firey has ordered the local council to repair it.

The property development company that built the block, where apartments sold for more than $1 million, has claimed it has gone bust.

Fire and Rescue NSW became aware of the disaster waiting to happen at the Pacific Hwy property when it was contacted on March 4 this year by a worried resident, who complained of ­appalling fire safety standards.

A FRNSW inspection on March 14 found the building had a defective sprinkler system, masked smoke detectors and an alarm disconnected from the Fire Brigade Monitoring Centre. ­Another inspection by FRNSW and Kur-ring-gai Council on May 2 found 17 other defects.

These included untagged fire doors, poor evacuation routes, defective fire shutters, and non-compliant shutters that would result in “trapping the building ­occupants in fire-isolated stairs”.

The fire exit was also blocked by two padlocked steel gates.

The building’s dangers are outlined in a FRNSW report that is due to be tabled at a Ku-ring-gai Council meeting on Tuesday.

The fire exits were blocked by two padlocked steel gates. Picture: Sam RuttynSource:News Corp Australia

Council documents reveal the building’s final Occupation Certificate, issued when the building was completed in May 2012, could be illegitimate.

“Concern is now raised as to the legitimacy of the certificates and statements that have been provided to council to date,” the council documents said.

“The issues found were of significant concern such that would compromise the safety of the residents and the structural integrity of the building. It is recommended council serve orders on the owners of the building to rectify the building’s fire safety issues.”

Resident Charles Xie, 52, said: “We do not want another London (Grenfell Tower) fire on our hands. I am paying good rent and I need to get basic safety in return. I really do not want to get trapped and for something to happen.”

The strata manager for the building told The Sunday Telegraph he was unaware of significant fire safety issues.

The strata manager for the building told The Sunday Telegraph he was unaware of significant fire safety issues.

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter has ordered Ku-ring-gai Council to fix the fire safety problem after the company that built the property, Xiang Rong (Australia) Investment Group, went into voluntary administration.
Xiang Rong is headed by director Andrew Tsang, 61, who could not be reached for comment.

The company is responsible for three other developments on Sydney’s north shore. It owes $13.3 million to creditors, the largest of which is the Australian Taxation Office. The matter goes before NSW Supreme Court tomorrow.

Administrator David Kerr, of RSM Australia, said the process of winding up Xiang Rong (Australia) Investment Group had been “more difficult than usual”.

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