Brookvale Fire Incident

22 May 2019

We have emailed all customers in the main building (4 Cross St) with relevant information with regards to the location of their storage units and works which have been carried out to date.

 

4 Cross St

To customers in Units (101-110), (118-125), (150-167), (194-199), (201-208), (600-645) (L01-L43),

We wanted to give you a specific update on the progress of the works being undertaken on the main building to make it safe.

We outlined in previous communications that, as part of the works required to make the building safe and in abiding by the Council Orders, work is continuing to that effect and includes the removal and disposal of fire debris at a licensed facility. Sadly, it has been confirmed to us that the area cleared to date according to those instructions includes the location where your self storage unit was situated. As such, all items in your unit are sadly unsalvageable.

We know this will be distressing for you, and we want to reassure you again that the process has been carried out according to regulations and in accordance with Council’s Order and is via a specialised, regulated facility for hazardous waste that’s not open to the public. We have requested that the contractors only remove and dispose of debris where there is no possibility of salvage, and where the work is necessary to secure the building. Unfortunately no items from your unit were salvageable.

As a reminder, if you were insured and haven’t yet made a claim, you should do so now. Depending on how you were insured, you should do it on your own home and contents policy, or on the policy you took out when you entered into your self-storage agreement.

Those customers who have taken out insurance via AON should download a claim form via this LINK. This should be filled out and sent to claims.australia@aon.com. For help in filling out your claim form or processing your claim, please contact AON directly on 02 9253 7041. Of course, we are available to any customer who needs more information for filling out this form. For reference, the Police Report number is E70640426.

For all customers, we’re continuing to refund deposits and rent credits for you. To process these refunds, we’ll need your bank details. If you haven’t yet done so, please send us the details of your bank account via the link in your email.

We understand NSW Police have contacted customers to collect witness statements and we encourage all customers to fill out those statements to support NSW Police with their investigations.

Once again, our sympathies are with you. We know the last two months must have been extremely difficult for all our customers who lost goods in this fire.

 

4 Cross St – To Customers in units: (111-117), (126-149), (168-193), (209-532) & 1010

While work continues on the building to make it safe in accordance with Council’s order, we wanted to advise you that it has been confirmed to us that nothing has yet been removed from the area in which your self storage unit was situated. We have requested that the contractors leave in-situ self storage units which may appear to have salvageable items, where it is safe and reasonable to do so.

Sadly, it is possible that, in the course of carrying out the works as required by Council’s Order, items in your self storage unit may have to be removed and disposed of. If this is the case, those works will be carried out in accordance with Council’s Order, and is via a specialised, regulated facility for hazardous waste that’s not open to the public. We will keep you up to date when we get a further report from the contractors.

As a reminder, the building remains unsafe for anyone to access bar the qualified, licensed contractors working on it. The structure itself remains extremely dangerous.

If you were insured and haven’t yet made a claim, you may elect to do so now. Depending on how you were insured, you should do it on your own home and contents policy, or on the one you took out when you entered into your self-storage agreement.

Those customers who have taken out insurance via AON should download a claim form via this LINK. This should be filled out and sent to claims.australia@aon.com . For help in filling out your claim form or processing your claim, please contact AON directly on 02 9253 7041. Of course, we are available to any customer who needs more information for filling out this form.

For all customers, we’re continuing to refund deposits and rent credits for you. To process these refunds, we’ll need your bank details. If you haven’t yet done so, please send us the details of your bank account via the link in your email.

We understand NSW Police have contacted customers to collect witness statements and we encourage all customers to fill out those statements to support NSW Police with their investigations.

 

Customers in 6 Cross St

We wanted to give you a specific update on the progress of the works being undertaken at 6 Cross St where your storage unit is located.

We’re waiting for an update from the landlord of this building with regards to the cleaning of the common areas. Once we have this, we should be able to establish a timeline for the process of reviewing items in customers self storage units.

We’re sorry that this process is taking some time, and thank you for bearing with us. As soon as we hear more, we’ll be in touch.

We do want to once again stress that it may be likely that only a small number of goods will be able to be salvaged, if any, however you will be able to discuss your options with the recovery specialists

For all customers, we’re continuing to refund deposits and rent credits for you. To process these refunds, we’ll need your bank details. If you haven’t yet done so, please send us the details of your bank account via the link sent to you in your email.

 

Customers in 10 and 12 Cross Street

We wanted to give you a specific update on the progress of the works being undertaken at 10 and 12 Cross St where your storage unit is located.

Plans are being finalised to allow customers to review the state of items in their self-storage unit via photo or video. This has taken longer than we wanted, but there are many parties involved in the process due to the complexity of the damage.

So once again, thank you for your patience. We’re hoping that this process will commence within a fortnight and we will provide detailed information about this process. We want to apologise to customers once again for the delay, and we’re pushing hard for the process to start.

We do want to once again stress that it may be likely that only a small number of goods will be able to be salvaged, if any, however you will be able to discuss your options with the recovery specialists

For all customers, we’re continuing to refund deposits and rent credits for you. To process these refunds, we’ll need your bank details. If you haven’t yet done so, please send us the details of your bank account via the link in your email

Building Number / Unit Numbers:

4 Cross St: 100’s, 200’s, 300’s, 400’s, 500’s, 600’s, Units 701, 702 and 1010, Lockers L01 – L44
6 Cross St: 800’s
10 Cross St: 700’s, 900’s, 9000’s and Lockers L955-L964
12 Cross St: 2000’s and 2100’s

 

 

10 May 2019 

We wanted to let all customers know that we expect Northern Beaches Council will issue the final Clean-Up Orders in line with the Draft Orders currently published on their website for each of the buildings at Brookvale. You’re welcome to read through these Orders so you can understand what the Council is instructing us to do for each building on the site.

We have continued to work with the Insurer, the Insurer’s Engineers and the Occupational Hygienists to assess each of the buildings to provide customers with updates.

Access to the site remains restricted by virtue of the Council Order. Due to the damage to the roof and its partial collapse leaving open spans, along with structural issues, work needs to continue in Building 4 in accordance with the Order to clear out fire debris and the roof material to ensure safety to the community.

Buildings 10 & 12

We are awaiting the Occupational Hygienist to provide permission for the commencement of inviting customers to review the contents of their unit with a view to identify what may be salvageable.

We understand that this has been, and continues to be, a long process but due to the complexity of the damage, we have needed to be methodical in the approach to ensure the safety of customers and the community.

As soon as we are able to provide customers with the opportunity to review the contents in Buildings 10 and 12 of their units (most likely by photo and/or video), we will be in touch directly.

Building 6

As per our update on 2 May, this building is not owned by Rent a Space, however we are able to advise that the Landlord has also been issued with Council’s Clean Up Order in similar terms to the other buildings.

We will continue to provide you with updates as to the progress of the works in Building 6 as and when they become available.

We understand that this has been, and continues to be, a long process but due to the complexity of the damage, we have needed to be methodical in the approach to ensure the safety of customers and the community.

Building 4

Works to the building continue to ensure the safety of the community and those working on the site. This includes the removal of fire debris in order to prop the Level 1 slab and also to access the first level to remove sections of the collapsed roof. Therefore Building 4 remains unsafe for any access other than by those authorised to work on the site. They will continue to work as per the Council Orders with the priority to make the building safe.

Notwithstanding the contractors’ ongoing assessments, as they attempt to make Building 4 safe, the contractors have been requested to leave in-situ units which may appear salvageable, where it is safe and reasonable to do so.

We must stress however that this may only be a very limited number of units as the priority remains in ensuring the safety of the community and anyone authorised to enter the building.

We will continue to provide customers with updates for all buildings as and when further information is provided to us.

In the meantime, we thank you for your ongoing patience.


Thursday, 2 May 2019

We know that it’s been a little while since our last update, and so we want to apologise first up for the delay. As we previously mentioned, all work on the site was suspended over the Easter period and resumed on Monday.

 

We wanted to provide you with a few pieces of news:

 

All customers may be interested to know that Northern Beaches Council has published the draft clean-up orders on their website for each of the buildings at Brookvale. As a reminder, once they’re final, these orders will replace the current emergency development control order. You’re welcome to read through these orders so you can understand what the council is instructing us to do on the site.

 

For customers in Building 4, we’re still waiting to hear about further results of independent reports on the state of the building and likely condition of any remaining goods inside. We know that this is important for you and we are pressing for these results. In the meantime, in compliance with the Council’s Emergency Order demolition work at the site continues to ensure the area is made safe, and this involves the removal of a limited amount of fire debris from the building. As we previously mentioned, disposal of materials will be, as required by the Emergency Order, at a specialised, regulated facility for hazardous waste that’s not open to the public.

 

For customers in Buildings 10 and 12, we have been advised that the process of cleaning common areas has now finished. This means that the insurers will soon be able to move to the next phase where customers should be able to view some of their goods. We understand this process is taking time, but safety is paramount and as soon as we get more detail from the occupational hygienists and insurers on how this will work, we will share it with you.

 

For customers in Building 6, we have a separate update. This building is not owned by Rent a Space, so we’re working with our landlord to activate the process of compliance with Council’s orders, cleaning the common areas and the potential viewing of goods. Unfortunately, this is likely to take longer than Buildings 10 and 12.

 

For all customers, we’ve heard your feedback that you want the process to move forward as fast as possible and we’re pushing for this. As we move into a recovery phase, it’s likely that the frequency of these emails will decrease but we remain committed to keeping you updated as often as we get news.

 

Once again, thank you for your patience and understanding.

Building Number / Unit Numbers:

4 Cross St: 100’s, 200’s, 300’s, 400’s, 500’s, 600’s, Units 701, 702 and 1010, Lockers L01 – L44
6 Cross St: 800’s
10 Cross St: 700’s, 900’s, 9000’s and Lockers L955-L964
12 Cross St: 2000’s and 2100’s

 

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

To all customers

We’re writing with a further update to all our customers at Brookvale.

We wanted to let you know that due to the Easter and ANZAC public holidays there have been no major works undertaken at the site due to building industry-wide rostered days off. We continue to have perimeter fencing and 24-hour security in place.

We understand there have been some contractors on site who have been authorised to provide cleaning services as per the Council Order with a view to prepare the buildings at 6, 10 and 12 Cross Street to commence the next step in the process detailed below.

The Insurance Assessor will be continuing to inspect the buildings early next week. We hope to be in a position to provide a more detailed timeline and explanation of the process for customers in buildings 6, 10 and 12 to review the contents of their storage units via video and photographs and provide further detail as to why access remains restricted. We are working with the insurer to ensure this process is undertaken in a timely manner and will provide an update as soon as we have firm timelines for when this can occur.

We will continue to provide updates as to works associated with building 4 Cross St (main building) and further address why the contents of the building have been deemed unsalvageable.

We’re continuing to refund deposits and rent credits for all customers. To process these refunds, we’ll need your bank details. If you haven’t yet done so, please send us the details of your bank account.

We thank you for your continued patience and we will provide another update next week.

In the meantime, our call centre is open from 9-5 all public holidays, including ANZAC Day, and 7-7 on other days.

 

Thursday 18th April 2019

We’re writing with a further update to all our customers at Brookvale.

 

For customers in our main building – 4 Cross St:

As some of you will know, we met with representatives of Northern Beaches Council yesterday. It was a constructive meeting, during which we discussed the council’s current emergency demolition order and the proposed clean up order.

As a reminder, all activity on site is currently directed by the emergency order, which remains in place. So the propping up of the main building and associated works, are all being done as per the emergency order.

Once the proposed clean up order is issued, it will replace the emergency order, and yesterday we discussed what it will contain. Although it’s not final, it’s likely that this new order will reconfirm that it is not safe for any member of the public to enter. We understand that the new order won’t come into force for a week or two and we will abide by the order as soon as it does.

Although the main building has been braced, it remains extremely dangerous. Most parts of it are off limits, even for licensed professionals. Engineers today have advised that significant structural concerns remain, and works are required to ensure the safety of the structure.

The building contractors have advised that works will be suspended from this evening until 29 April due to the Easter long weekend and ANZAC day break. However, after that they will need to continue work including the disposal of fire debris in accordance with the emergency order. We’ve been assured that they will only be disposing of any items in accordance with the emergency order.

Disposal of materials will be at a specialised, regulated facility for hazardous waste that’s not open to the public. We know this must be very difficult for customers to process, but unfortunately it’s how we’re being directed by the emergency order as a way to make the site safe.

Our heartfelt thanks once again for your patience. It’s now been three weeks since the fire and we know how anxious you all are for news.

We don’t plan to send further updates over the Easter period unless we have significant news to share, but we will be in touch again next week.

In the meantime, our call centre is open from 9-5 all public holidays, including ANZAC Day, and 7-7 on other days via 02 8758 0005.

 

For customers in buildings 6, 10, 12 Cross St:

We mentioned previously that our insurer is still working on developing a process that could enable you to view some items that had been contained in your unit. The cleaning of common areas is progressing well and we hope to have a further update for you on this next week.

We do want to stress that it’s likely that only a very small number of goods will be able to be saved, if any. This is heartbreaking news, but we don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up too high. We’ve also received a number of calls from customers wanting a timeline to know for certain what’s happened to their items, and as soon as we can confirm this, of course we will.

As with the main building update, the building contractors have advised that works will be suspended from this evening until 29 April due to the Easter long weekend and ANZAC day break.

Our heartfelt thanks once again for your patience. It’s now been three weeks since the fire and we know how anxious you all are for news.

We don’t plan to send further updates over the Easter period unless we have significant news to share, but we will be in touch again next week.

In the meantime, our call centre is open from 9-5 all public holidays, including ANZAC Day, and 7-7 on other days via 8758 0005.

 

Wedneday 17th April 2019

Main Building Update – 4 Cross St, Brookvale

 

We’re writing to give you a further update with regards to our main building. As we previously outlined, our insurers don’t have to move to an immediate demolition of the entire main building structure as we were originally instructed. We are still bound by Council’s Emergency Development Control Plan however council intends to rescind the order to demolish the building and issue a new “clean up” order.

As soon as we’re able to publish this order, we’ll release the full text. The draft, which we understand is unlikely to change before it becomes final, instructs us to do two things:

1. Not to allow anyone on site until the site is safe to be legally reoccupied. As we previously outlined, our insurers also control the site and are also not allowing anyone in apart from trained and licensed professionals.

2. As per both the original and the proposed order, to remove fire debris and contaminated materials in order to make the area safe. Sadly, this does involve the remains of some customer goods. These goods are being taken from the northern side of the main building. We assure you that only goods are being removed that are necessary to comply with the order and are confirmed to be beyond salvage.

We know that this update, especially part (2), will be heartbreaking for customers who still hold out hope to rescue anything that was in the building. Sadly, we have to reiterate our earlier communications that nothing from this building will be able to be rescued.

We’ll send a further update once the order is finalised.

 

Tuesday 16th April 2019

NOTE: This morning we sent an email to all customers which contained an ‘overdue account’ reminder. This email was sent in error. We’re sorry for our mistake and the email can be ignored.

We’re writing to you today to tell you a bit more about the fire investigations at Brookvale. Understandably we’ve had some questions from customers around the causes of the fire so we want to give you an update on what we know at this stage.

When this kind of incident happens, there are a number of independent bodies that launch their own investigations. For example, Fire and Rescue NSW and Police NSW both open independent investigations about the causes of the fire, how it was brought under control and whether it is likely to have been an accident.

In addition, it’s possible that the NSW Coroner will open an investigation into the fire. Even though there were thankfully no fatalities, the coroner has the power to investigate significant fires. We understand that no coroner has been appointed to investigate the fire at our Brookvale facility yet. If and when this happens, it’s right that any coroner does this in a methodical and diligent way.

As such, it’s unlikely that a full public report on the fire will be released by any of the agencies for several months. As and when public reports are completed, we’ll ensure we point you towards them so you can read them for yourselves.

We know that many of you are looking for answers and we’re sorry you can’t have these as quickly as you’d like. Please be assured that we share your desire for information and answers, so as soon as we hear more about a coroner’s report, we’ll let you know.

Customers in 6, 10 or 12 Cross St Brookvale

We wrote to you last week giving you more details around the likely condition of the storage units in buildings 6, 10 and 12, and the process of getting them examined by specialists. As we mentioned, this is likely to take weeks rather than days.

From customer communications, we know that some of you are telling us that you had important items in these buildings and understandably want to wait until your unit is available to be individually examined before making an insurance claim.

However, some customers are asking us about how to claim on insurance now, so we wanted to give you some more information and options on this too.

For those customers who don’t want to wait to see if anything in their unit is salvageable, here’s an overview of your insurance options:

Any customer entering into a self-storage agreement can opt to insure. Some customers elect to self-insure and do not require further insurance because their belongings are covered by an existing house and contents policy or business insurance, or because they elect not to take out insurance at all.

Those customers who have taken out insurance via AON should download a claim form via this LINK. This should be filled out and sent to claims.australia@aon.com . For help in filling out your claim form or processing your claim, please contact AON directly on 02 9253 7041. Of course, we are available to any customer who needs more information for filling out this form.

Any customer with an existing house and contents insurance policy or business insurance policy should check with their insurer about whether they are covered in the first instance.

If you choose to claim on an insurance policy, please note that the insurer will likely ask you to acknowledge that no goods from your unit are salvageable, and no attempt should be made by a licensed contractor to access or retrieve anything from it.

Unfortunately, as stated in our self-storage agreements, if you didn’t take out insurance, no contents are covered by Rent a Space. We know this is very difficult for customers without insurance and of course we are here to provide you with any information you may need in relation to this.

For those customers who want to wait to see if anything from their unit is salvageable:

If you elected to take out customer storage insurance with QBE, please don’t make a claim at this stage.

We’ll keep in touch with you as we get progress reports from the insurers on the cleaning of common areas and potential options for viewing your items. In any case, if you have any queries around your insurance we recommend you speak with AON on 02 9253 7041.

If you didn’t have insurance, and you want to wait to see if anything is salvageable, please also wait for more information from us.

For all customers, we’re continuing to refund deposits and rent credits for you. To process these refunds, we’ll need your bank details. If you haven’t yet done so, please send us the details of your bank account via the link shared with you via the email sent to your email address. If you did not receive this, please contact us.

Once again, thanks for your patience and understanding as we work through this process.

Friday 12th April 2019

We’re writing to you again to provide a further update on the status of storage units in 6, 10 and 12 Cross St.

As we previously mentioned, the entire site remains under the control of our insurers. This means that access is tightly restricted, and while we want to move things forward as quickly as possible for you, inevitably it has resulted in some delays beyond our control.

Work is underway to “clean” common areas of these three buildings. As soon as we have an estimate of how long this will take, we’ll let you know.

Sadly, all the news we’re getting about the condition of these areas confirms the earlier information that the combination of fire, smoke and water contamination has resulted in significant damage. Although it has not been confirmed, it seems likely all customer goods will have been affected. Nobody has accessed any individual customer’s unit so we can’t be more specific than this right now.

Our immediate next steps are to confirm a timeline with our insurer on when individual customers’ goods can be examined. As a reminder, this will need to be done via video or photo taken by a specialist, as these are the only people allowed in the building for safety reasons. We are hoping to have an update and more information on this next week.

In the meantime, we would like to start the process of refunding deposits and rent credits for you. To process these refunds, we’ll need your bank details. Please send us the details of your bank account via the link provided in the email you should have received if you are a customer in 6, 10 or 12 Cross St so we can process these for you. As a reminder, we also suspended any rental payments from the night of the fire onwards and this suspension remains in place.

We’ve been talking to lots of customers in the past couple of weeks via our call centre. We know it must be heartbreaking for you and our deepest sympathies remain with you.

We’ll do our best to keep you informed as we get more news. As a reminder, our contact centre is open every day from 7am – 7pm and can be reached on 02 8758 0000.

We anticipate our next update will be early next week.

 

Thursday 11th April 2019

MAIN Building Update – 4 Cross St

We want to give you a further update on the status of our main building.

As you will know from our previous communications, we were issued with an Emergency Development Control Order by Northern Beaches Council shortly after the fire broke out.

That order requires us to demolish the building where necessary to put the fire out and ensure the safety to local people and property. Council included a number of other instructions in the order, which our insurers and their contractors continue to follow, as the order has not yet been revoked. We want to give you a bit more information on what’s in this order as we hope it will help answer some of the questions we’ve been getting recently.

In the words of the council, the order also says that the main building was “so dilapidated that it is prejudicial to persons or property in the neighbourhood”. We’ve included a copy of the order HERE in case you want to read it in full.

However, since the order was issued, Fire and Rescue NSW managed to extinguish the fire. As such, our insurers don’t have to move to an immediate demolition of the entire main building structure as we were originally instructed. We know there has been concern in the community about the speed of planned demolition, and we’re sorry if this has caused alarm.

We also recently learned of the Council’s intention to issue an updated order in respect to the premises. We don’t know specifically what’s in that order yet, but while we wait for it, we want to give an update of what’s happening on site.

As it is not necessary to immediately and entirely demolish, the current priority is to brace the building’s main walls to try and support the structure. That will allow further assessments to continue. It’s worth saying that the original order also instructed us ” to prevent any unauthorised access into the site”.

Occupational Hygienists have also been engaged to assess the building and report to Council in accordance with the order.

Further testing is taking place, but the current Council order states that “the building is likely to become a danger to the public”. That means the building is not safe for any customer to enter. Although Fire and Rescue have handed over the building, the whole site is now in the hands of our insurer. They control who goes in and out.

We entirely understand customers’ desire to access and inspect what remains. However, sadly, at this stage, this seems highly unlikely if not impossible given the significant and substantial damage. We know how important this is for our customers, but this decision is not ours to make and the safety of all people is paramount. Our deepest sympathies remain with you all, and in particular those who have lost items of sentimental value.

Once we receive the Council’s latest instructions, we’ll let you know too. In the meantime, thank you once again for your patience and your understanding at this very difficult time.

 

Wednesday 10th April 2019

UPDATE: Customers in 6, 10 or 12 Cross St, Brookvale (not main building)

The below was sent to our customers with storage units located in 6, 10 and 12 Cross St:

We’re writing to you again as customers who had storage away from our main building, following our update at the end of last week.

Our current understanding is that these three buildings are sufficiently structurally sound. However, our insurer is still having further assessments done so this has not been confirmed with certainty at this stage.

You will have also seen our other communications where we advise that no customers are allowed inside. Until late last week, the building was under the control of Fire and Rescue NSW, and they were the only ones who could give anyone permission to enter. The building is now under the control of our insurer. As of today, the only people who have been inside are those from the emergency services, engineers and occupational hygienists.

Although Fire and Rescue have handed back control of these three buildings, we are still under instruction not to allow anyone on site. Unfortunately, this also includes customers, due to the potential hazards resulting from the fire.

We also want to reconfirm that no units have been accessed, which means we can’t give any customer any detailed information on the condition of their unit. But, very sadly, it seems likely all areas of the buildings have been affected by the fire.

That means that it’s likely that the contents of all units will have suffered significant damage by a combination of fire, smoke, water and resulting fire contamination. As and when we are able to provide more information on this, we’ll share it with you, but we know this must be devastating news to read.

We understand that the next steps for these buildings are as follows. While further assessments are done on the buildings, our insurer’s contractors are working with authorities and experts to clean common areas as per the Council’s Order. We believe that this will ultimately allow a licensed, trained contractor to enter each building, and eventually, individual units.

Our insurer is working on a plan to allow customers to remotely view the condition of their units, either via photos or video taken by the contractors. Unfortunately, it will not be possible for customers to enter the property to inspect their units by themselves.

We’ll work with our insurer and their contractors to try and ensure that the process is done gradually and sensitively, as we know it will be very difficult for some customers to see the state of their units. We’ll make sure that you have privacy when you’re finding out the condition of your goods and we’ll have staff available to you to help you chat through your options.

But very sadly, we have to say that it’s highly likely that only a select number of items may be retrievable. We understand that our insurer will do this where it is deemed safe and viable to remove and clean them. Unfortunately, we also have to tell you that it may be impossible to salvage anything. Until the insurer can fully assess the units, we can’t say anything more about this.

All of this is going to take some weeks. In the meantime, we’re going to do our best to keep you updated and answer some of the questions coming into our call centre and very much appreciate your patience. We know this must be an incredibly difficult time for you and we’ll move ahead as quickly as we can.

In the meantime, our contact centre is open every day from 7 – 7. Feel free to call us on 8758 0005 if you have any questions and we’ll do our best to help.


Monday 8th April 2019

This is an update for customers around insurance of their goods following last week’s fire. It only relates to customers who had belongings stored in the main building, which has suffered very considerable damage.

Our other buildings are still awaiting assessment by the authorities, engineers and occupational hygeneists, so we’ll be in touch with customers with belongings in these buildings separately as soon as possible.

Any customer entering into a self-storage agreement can opt to insure. Some customers elect to self-insure and do not require further insurance because their belongings are covered by an existing house and contents policy or because they elect not to take out insurance at all.

Those customers who have taken out insurance will have received a claim form from us and it is also available HERE. This should be filled out and sent to claims.australia@aon.com. Of course, we are available to any customer who needs more information about filling in this form or the process after submission.

Any customer with an existing house and contents insurance policy should check with their insurer about whether they are covered in the first instance.

Unfortunately, as stated in our self-storage agreements, no contents are otherwise covered by Rent a Space. We know this is very difficult for customers without insurance and of course we are here to provide you any information you may need in relation to this.

If you’re a customer with storage in our main building, and you haven’t received an email, please check your spam filters or contact us via 8758 0000. If you were storing in a different building, thank you for your patience. We will be in touch.

Our customer service centre is open between 7am and 7pm and we’ll do everything we can to help you through this very challenging time.

 

Friday 5th April 2019

 

To our customers in the MAIN BUILDING

We know that a number of you are waiting for news on insurance claims, and on Monday we’ll be sending a comprehensive email about insurance with all the details you need. We’re sorry that it’s taken us a little while to get to this and thank you for your patience.

We know that some of you are asking for more information about next steps on our main building, and we’ll be in touch again early next week on that.

Finally, we want to remind all of you that we want to process your refunds for your deposits and rent credits. If you haven’t already, please send us the details of your bank account via this LINK so we can process these for you.

We don’t plan to send any communications over the weekend unless we have urgent news to share. Of course, our contact centre will be open from 7-7 all weekend and you can call us on 8758 0000.

 

To our customers in buildings 6, 10 and 12 we sent this message:

We’re writing to you as customers who had storage away from our main building. First of all, we want to thank you for your patience while our focus has been on customers from the main building.

The outward condition of our other three buildings seems better than the main building. However, the authorities are having these buildings comprehensively assessed, including different areas within each building which may have been affected by smoke, fire, water or other hazards.

As a reminder, we don’t have access to any customer’s individual unit. So any assessment made at this stage will be general in nature and we won’t be able to give you any news of your individual belongings.

We’re hoping that the authorities’ assessment process will be complete by early next week after which we can share more news. As a reminder, we’ve suspended all rent payments in the meantime.

Once again, thank you for your patience. We know this must be an incredibly difficult time for you and we’ll move ahead on this as fast as we can.

We don’t plan to send any communications over the weekend unless we have urgent news to share.

Our contact centre is open from 7-7 and any customer who needs any information is welcome to call us on 8758 0000.

 

Thursday 4th April 2019

5:26pm

To the main Building Customer only

We’re writing to you today because we want to start the process of refunding deposits and rent credits. As a reminder, we also suspended any rental payments from the night of the fire onwards.

To process these refunds, we’ll need your bank details. Please send us the details of your bank account via this LINK so we can process these for you.

We also want to give you an update on the status of the main building. We have had confirmation once again that the building is beyond saving and that tragically, the contents in the building are all lost. From our conversations with customers and the other agencies on site we know how heartbreaking this is.

Northern Beaches Council issued a demolition order in respect to the building and this must be adhered to. This order has been made with reference to advice they have received from a number of parties including the State Emergency Engineer and Fire and Rescue NSW.

Work has started in accordance with the order to stabilise and support the building’s external walls, as these were compromised in last week’s fire. The process of demolition will need to begin after that. We will be in touch with all storers tomorrow with further communications. In the meantime, our contact centre is open for any questions.

Our thanks once again to you all for your patience and understanding as we work through this very difficult time.

All other customers 

For those with belongings in other buildings, thank you for your patience. We’ll be in touch with you as soon as we can.

Tuesday 2 April 2019

5:00pm

We know that you’re waiting for a further update from us regarding the planned demolition of the main building at our Brookvale facility.

 

As you are aware, independent building engineers were appointed to assess the structural integrity of the building. Their initial assessment was that the main building was structurally unsound. We’ve been advised today that the independent engineers have again confirmed the building structurally unsafe for anyone to enter.

 

Sadly the level of damage within the main building is very significant. No area was untouched by the fire and the subsequent inundation with water together with the above assessment means all contents, including customer goods, were destroyed.

 

We have received messages from customers asking if there is a way for them to access the site. We understand from customer communications that some storers had treasured possessions in the main building which have much sentimental value and we’ve been asking the authorities on your behalf if there is a way that they can be salvaged. Unfortunately, we are advised by the authorities that nothing is salvageable, and further, it is not safe for anyone to do so.

 

We’re still working with authorities, engineers and others to secure the remaining buildings, determine the level of additional damage and accurately confirm which other storage units are affected. We appreciate the wait for news around this must be frustrating and worrying and we will continue to endeavour to keep you informed as news comes to hand.

 

We’ll be in touch with customers around next steps over the coming days and to discuss your specific circumstances. For customers from other buildings we’ll let you know as soon as we have more news.

 

We understand the level of distress this must be causing you and we’ll continue to do as much as we can to support all our customers at this very difficult time.

 

Monday 1 April 2019

3:15pm

Please see below Questions and answers in response to a number of enquiries we’ve received:

Please see below questions and answers in response to enquiries we have received:

How did the fire start? 

The fire is still under investigation by both Fire and Rescue NSW investigators and NSW Police. The building insurer has appointed a forensic investigator. We are still unsure at this stage as to the cause of the fire. We have recently received the following feedback from NSW Fire and Rescue: “from all the available evidence right now there is no suggestion of criminal activity.”

Is the fire still burning?

Fire and Rescue NSW have contained the fire; however, it is still burning internally within the main building. The fire continues to be fought externally by fire crews including by use of aerial devices.

Are there any injuries?

A member of Fire and Rescue NSW did report burns during the initial stages of the fire; however, to our knowledge, there have been no other reports of injuries.

Have customers been informed?

Yes. We’ve sent regular emails and SMS. If you are a customer and have not received an SMS, please contact us to ensure we have your correct mobile number on file. We’ve created this News page on our website which is being regularly updated and been providing updates via our social channels. During the initial stages, we had teams working around the clock to answer customer questions via phone and email. We continue to have a team in place to take calls from customers between 7 am and 7 pm.

What is the status of storage units in the other buildings?

At this stage, as NSW Fire and Rescue control the scene, we are yet to be given access to assess the rest of the site, and comprehensively and accurately identify which units have been affected and to what extent.

What is being done to secure goods/ buildings in the meantime?

Emergency fencing is in place, and police and security guards are on site maintaining the security and controlling access. Security and access are under continuous review in line with direction from Fire NSW and NSW Police.

What happens to my goods if they are in the building expected to be demolished?

The information available is that Public Works Engineers, in conjunction with Northern Beaches council engineers have advised the building is unsafe for entry and requires to be strategically demolished under the direction of NSW Fire to allow them to fight the fire. As a result, it would be doubtful that possessions in this area can be saved.

Why has a decision been made to demolish the site?

Northern Beaches Council under the instruction of public works engineers and Fire and Rescue NSW issued us a formal notice for emergency demolition of the site. The emergency demolition has been deemed neccessary to fight the fire within the building which is still burning. Independently appointed structural engineers are working with the council to limit the damage through this process and ensure this is necessary. It is important to note that at no time has Rent A Space pushed for the demolition of the building and has done everything within our power to minimise loss to customer goods.

Why is the demolition happening so fast?

The emergency demolition notice issued by Northern Beaches Council has a strict timeline set, which by law must be adhered to. Our understanding is that the timeline is as per Fire NSW to allow them to combat the ongoing fire and minimise any impact on surrounding residents in neighbouring buildings and suburbs and to prevent further loss to customer property within adjacent buildings. Please see below an excerpt from NSW Police – Northern Beaches Area Command which goes some way to explaining the situation and priority for safety to all.

Is there any truth to the rumour about a meth lab being the cause of the fire?

NSW Police have thoroughly discredited this rumour. See below extract from Manly Daily (30th March 2019):

“A spokesman said the fire had been fully handed over to firefighters. He added that officers are only at the scene to deal with road closures.
“Police are no longer treating the fire as suspicious,” the force spokesman said. “It is not thought there has been any illegal activity.”

We have recently received the following feedback from NSW Fire and Rescue: “from all the available evidence right now there is no suggestion of criminal activity.”

What are the next steps for storers?

Rent A Space will continue to keep customer’s up to date with information as it comes to hand. Rent A Space will be in contact with individual storers to discuss their specific situations and next steps.

How do I get in contact with Rent a Space?

Our call customer service team are available from 7 am to 7 pm on 8758 0000 to assist with any questions in the meantime. Our email is being regularly monitored and responded to at brookvale@rentaspace.com.au

 

2:00pm

Please see recent post and link from NSW Police – Northern Beaches Area Command:

While the flames in the self-storage building look like they’re out, appearances can be deceptive.
The reality is the entire complex, with its myriad metal self-storage units, remains very hot.
 
Firies have to get into and check everyone. As they open each door there’s a very real danger that smouldering embers, fanned by fresh air, can leap back into life.
Needless-to-say, the process is going to take time.
 
Then, because the damage is so extensive, the building is going to have to come down. Again, this will be done very carefully to ensure any contaminants that might be there don’t end up in the atmosphere or waterways. To this end, an array of sensors is in place to monitor air quality both around the site and in Warringah Mall. In short, the welfare of people and the environment is paramount as the site is made safe and cleared.
 
This will mean ongoing disruption, particularly for those looking to get to businesses close by. And if the fire should re-ignite, the area, including the Mall, again will be sealed off until it’s out.
At best estimation right now, the process of extinguishing the fire, demolishing the building and making the site absolutely safe, will take weeks rather than days.
 
Cross Street will remain one-way only and we’re waiting to learn when power to businesses can be restored. Through all of this, Northern Beaches police will maintain a 24/7 presence.
We’re also working closely with all involved, including local businesses, the Mall, Fire & Rescue NSW, the building demolishers and public to minimise disruption and keep everyone up to date.
This is being done both through a dedicated email address for those directly involved, and on this site for the general public.
 
As always, your patience and understanding for the duration is appreciated, and please watch this space for updates.

 

Sunday 31.03.19

9:45 am

We’ve received a demolition order from the council, which means that that the process of demolition will need to start in the next couple of days.

As of today, Fire and Rescue NSW still have control of the site. We know that many of you are waiting for news of your belongings but unfortunately we have no access to the building and will not do before demolition. Fire and Rescue will remain at the site during the demolition process to ensure that the fire is completely extinguished.

We will also make sure that the site stays secure during this process. We’ve engaged security on 24-hour patrols and you’ll soon see fencing going up around the site as the process of demolition in the main building starts.

For those customers with belongings stored away from the main building, we know that you’re also wanting to get inside and see the condition of your things. Once we regain access to all of our buildings we’ll be organising this in a controlled way. We know the wait is frustrating and we’ll be doing this as quickly as possible.

Saturday 30.03.19

5:00pm

There have been no change since our last update today at 12:15pm and there will likely be no new updates until Monday. NSW Fire and Rescue continue to control the premises and NSW Police and security is on site to ensure the perimeter remains secure.

Unless we are advised of any major updates we will hold off on any new updates until then. Please note our Customer Service team will be available 7am to 7pm if there is anything we can assist you with.

12:15pm

NSW Fire & Rescue today have liaised with structural engineers. Sadly the main building has been condemned which means demolition will likely occur in the near future. We are unsure exactly when this will be.

Please be assured that this decision by the appropriate authorities has not been taken lightly. Unfortunately the building has been deemed unsafe for anyone to enter under any circumstances, so for everyone’s safety it has to be demolished.

The other three buildings have not been condemned. However, they have also received significant damage. It will still be some time before we will have access to them to completely assess the damage.

Please rest assured that the safety of the premises remains the absolute priority of Fire and Rescue NSW. We’re also prioritising the security of the remaining belongings in the buildings.

We have a continuous security presence on site. When it comes to allowing customers back in to inspect their possessions, we’ll make sure this is done in a controlled way. We’ll let you know well in advance.

Friday 29.03.19

6:44pm:

We know the last few days have been very tough for most of you waiting on news about your possessions. We have now received some updated information from Fire and Rescue NSW which we wanted to share with you.

Unfortunately, the facility has suffered very significant damage. It’s likely 1 of the 4 buildings, which is the main building, may need to be demolished for safety reasons and this will be considered by emergency services tomorrow.

We’re in regular contact with Fire and Rescue NSW and as we get more news from them, we’ll keep updating you. All customers should have received an email updating them of the situation. In the meantime, you can call our customer service team on 8758 0000.

Once again, we want to express how devastated we are. We know it must be heartbreaking and our team is here if we can help you.

9:25am:

We’re writing to give you an update on yesterday’s fire at our Brookvale facility. We’ve been liaising with NSW Fire and Rescue. Currently, the situation is as follows:

The fire is not yet completely out. Fire and Rescue have advised that, given the number of different units in the building, it’s very complex. They are hoping to have it extinguished today but they can’t guarantee this.

Sadly we do know that the damage to our main building will be significant. There are four buildings in the complex, all of which are connected. We can’t say anything firm about the damage to the other buildings, or the contents of the units in them yet.

Once the fire is out the emergency services will remain on the scene for a number of days. After that, they’ll hand over to building engineers to judge which parts are safe to enter.

We know that you are waiting for news of your belongings and many people want to access the building to see if there has been damage to possessions that were stored at Brookvale. We understand that the wait is frustrating and as soon as we can give any news on building access, we will let you know. However, we have been advised that it is likely to be some time before this access is granted.

Once we have more information about the effects on individual units, we’ll be in touch with you one by one based on specific circumstances.

We understand how distressing this must be for you. We’re working around the clock with the emergency services to move things on as fast as possible and we will update you as often as we can.

We anticipate our next update to be mid afternoon unless further news is obtained earlier.

Our team are available for discussion on 02 8758 0000, however please note the information we have is limited at this time and we are receiving a large volume of enquiries. We’ll provide information via these updates and our website at https://rentaspace.com.au/brookvale-incident/

Thursday 28.03.19

Overnight a Rent a space building on Cross Street in Brookvale caught fire. Fire and Rescue NSW attended immediately and are working to get the fire under control. There are no reports of any injuries and nobody was reported to be in the building at the time. The building contains self-storage units, and we’re contacting our customers this morning to let them know.

2pm :

NSW Fire and Rescue are still on the scene. Sadly, it looks like there is significant damage to the building and to some of the units inside. We don’t have a timeframe yet on when we’ll get in to the building, or when customers will be able to access it. We’ll update again as soon as we have further information. We know you will be very concerned at this and we’ll keep you informed as much as possible.

4:55pm: 

NSW Fire and Rescue are still on site, and will be for some time until the blaze is fully extinguished. The emergency services will be in control of the site for a number of days yet, and during this time it will be inaccessible to customers. We know this must be very tough for all our customers and we’d like to assure you we’re doing all we can to work through this process as fast as possible. This will be our last update for tonight, but we’ll be updating again tomorrow.