The police force in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) confirmed on Friday that two 13-year-old schoolchildren handed themselves in over a major blaze destroying buildings in central Sydney.
“We are aware of reports overnight of a group of young people that were seen running from the fire scene shortly after 4:00 p.m.,” said NSW Police Force Acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Dunstan at a press conference on Friday morning.
Dunstan pointed out that the two 13-year-old teenagers handed themselves in at two separate police stations in the late hours of Thursday night and are now assisting police with inquiries.
“I can further confirm that we are aware of a further three or four other young people who were present during the fire,” the police officer said, asking the young people to come forward with their parents.
Fire and Rescue NSW Acting Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell also briefed reporters on the latest development regarding the fire, which broke out in a multi-story building in Surry Hills at about 4:00 p.m. local time (0600 GMT) on Thursday and then upgraded into a “10th alarm” status, the most severe type of fire.
“There was extensive damage to the two buildings that were involved in the fire and that resulted in significant structural collapse,” Fewtrell noted.
The acting commissioner mentioned that extinguishing the remaining pockets of fire was “quite challenging” due to the debris from the collapsed buildings.
“We continue to just sort of keep wetting down the hotspots, and it will continue for some time to get final extinguishment there,” Fewtrell added.