A billowing, black plume of smoke could be seen for miles on Friday as emergency crew worked to put out as blaze at Penrith’s Harvey Norman on Friday afternoon.
But Harvey Norman’s CEO, Gerry Harvey, said the store could be open in as little as two weeks time, with most of the damage sustained being limited to the warehouse.
“When I saw the images on the news I thought there would be between $10 million and $30 million of damage but when I visited the store this week I was surprised at how well the fire doors had prevented the spread of the fire,” Mr Harvey said.
Approximately 125 fire fighters were called to the store at 3.41pm when the emergency alarms triggered.
Though the fire was under control by 6.30pm crews were on scene until 3pm the next day according to NSW Fire and Rescue Superintendent, Ian Krimmer.
“Fire fighters from 30 stations attended the blaze and the fire fighters who entered the store did a very good job to support the fire walls and make sure the fire was contained,” Mr Krimmer said.
“It was fortunate that no-one was injured and the evacuation of staff in the building and neighbouring businesses went smoothly.”
Mr Harvey estimates that the damage is going to cost the company between $7million and $10 million but that customers visiting the store in the coming weeks will not notice the fire damage.
“The whole of bedding is in tact, the electrical section is in tact and computers is mostly in tact so when customers visit they will not see the damage that was done – mainly to the warehouse,” he said.
“Behind the fire walls though there was considerable damage – the roof has collapsed in the warehouse, several computers were completely melted, and the main switchboard was located there and was destroyed, which will cost about $500,000 alone.”
Mr Harvey said he could still remember the fire at the old Penrith Harvey Norman on Henry Street over two decades ago.
“That fire completely destroyed the store and we had to move across the street temporarily until it was rebuilt but this fire was not nearly as devastating because the store will be operational soon,” he said.
Police are still waiting for the damaged warehouse to be declared safe before investigations into how the fire started begin.