Galleria Shopping Centre fire sparks evacuation and confusion

There was a fire at the Galleria Shopping Centre in Morley this month.
There was a fire at the Galleria Shopping Centre in Morley this month.

A GALLERIA Shopping Centre retailer was only told to evacuate when it was too late following a small fire in a male toilet this month.

By the time security had warned the staff of Prouds about the fire evacuation, other staff and shoppers who had evacuated were already back in the centre.

The Eastern Reporter spoke to nine businesses and six said they evacuated the centre after hearing the alarm around 8.30am; three said a security guard told them to leave because they failed to hear the alarm.

However, a Galleria Shopping Centre spokeswoman said the fire alarm was not activated because of the size and location of the fire, which started in a male toilet on level one near the food court.

This incident comes two years after two people died at the centre following an explosion. That tragedy resulted in State Government division EnergySafety issuing an order for Long and Crawford Manchester, which made the high voltage switches that caused the fire, to install additional safety measures.

On February 3, 2015, Alan Cummins (30) died instantly while Matt Hutchins (22) suffered burns to 80 per cent of his body and died later that afternoon.

The centre spokeswoman did not respond to a question to confirm if the safety measures had been installed.

She said management had been made aware of a small fire on level one near the food court.

“As a precaution, this section of centre was cordoned off and evacuated,” she said.

“At no point was anyone at risk.

“Following advice from emergency services, this section of Galleria reopened within an hour.”

Prouds store manager Hayley Elliot said by the time a security guard notified her staff to evacuate the building, people had already started to come back inside.

“We did not hear a fire alarm, all my staff were here and we just stayed inside,” she said. “We didn’t need to evacuate; it was business as usual.”

However, Jamaica Blue owner Jenny Dang said her staff and customers heard the alarm and were evacuated from the building with no issues.

“A security guard just came up to us and said there was a fire upstairs,” she said.

“We evacuated for 15 minutes.”

Specsavers co-owner Bradley Scott said his staff were in a meeting when they heard alarms go off.

In June, Bayswater Council sought an independent review of a report on pedestrian flow during emergencies because of pop-up kiosks at the centre.

The Galleria did not respond to questions about whether it was a concern that retailers did not hear an alarm.

Comment on whether procedures put in place from 2015 were followed was also not provided.

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