Rozelle convenience store destroyed

The area around the store remained blocked off as emergency services continued to douse the building. Several people are still unaccounted for at this time. (Photograph: Keith Berg)

Sydney’s inner west suburb of Rozelle was woken by an “almighty bang” just after 4am on Thursday 9 September when an explosion destroyed a family-run convenience store on Darling Street.

Emergency services arrived to find the store’s owner trapped under a commercial fridge after the roof collapsed. According to Inspector Gary Coffey of Leichhardt police the man was pulled free by firefighters and taken to hospital suffering lower-limb injuries and broken bones. The building was engulfed in flames and residents living above the store were forced to jump to safety although not all residents had been accounted for. The force of the blast blew out the windows of businesses on the opposite side of Darling Street and of nearby homes.

The store was previously a 7-Eleven but has been independently branded since last year. The source of the explosion has not been identified and Council workers manning the barricades told C&I WEEK that police were treating the area as a crime scene. Hours after the blast, fire fighters were continuing to direct their massive hoses into the burning rubble, which rescuers were still unable to enter. Three people who were injured in the blast were taken to RPA hospital. In a statement, NSW Police said “A further three people remain unaccounted for. It remains undetermined as to whether or not they are still inside the building.”

Investigators believe the explosion is suspicious, but have not commented on witness reports that a car was seen speeding away from the convenience store moments before the blast.

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