Residents evacuated after cracks appear in unit block
There were frantic scenes overnight as residents of an inner west unit block were evacuated after noticing cracks in their building - located near the new WestConnex M4 tunnel.
Emergency services were called to the Green Trees Estate at 18-20 Knocklayde Street in Ashfield after a resident woke to find the floor of the building moving.
The resident reported waking to a "crack and a pop" before seeing their living room tiles bursting from the floor.
Cracks were also seen on the wall of the complex and the front door had become jammed.
NSW Police and Fire and Rescue NSW rushed to the scene, where firefighters had to force down the resident's door. The other occupants were also rushed outside.
Initial reports suggest the brickwork of the 20-year-old building had started to show cracking, causing building distortion.
Ten residents from six units of the three-storey complex were evacuated to a nearby community centre.
Police acting superintendent Despa Fitzgerald told reporters a child was among the residents evacuated.
"It's important to move quickly in these scenarios because we don't know the cause of it," superintendent Fitzgerald said.
"It's a building that's around 20 years old, so we have to look at the plans, at the concrete beams," she said.
Initial reports suggest the building is not at risk of collapsing, NSW Fire and Rescue Superintendant Adam Dewberry said.
"Our advice from engineers is it's very stable. There's no concerns of the building moving."
"There was some minor cracking but our main concern was the floor tiles which popped up unexpectedly and made a bit of a noise," he said.
It is understood the unit was the only one in the complex impacted but at least 10 residents were evacuated as a precaution.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Daily Telegraph the damage "looks pretty bad."
"I'm concerned we won't be able to return for a while," the man said.
He said the newly completed M4 East WestConnex tunnels are located "directly under" the building.
It is understood representatives from Westconnex and Roads and Maritime Services are on scene.
According to Superintendant Dewberry, investigators are looking into whether the tunnels may have caused the cracks but "there's no link at this stage."
The Haberfield to Homebush stretch of tunnelling work had been finished almost a year ago, in August 2019, but work is still ongoing near Leichhardt for the M4-M5 tunnel.
Tunnelling progress maps show the property situated near the completed M4 East tunnels.
The maps also show boring work is currently underway 12 metres below ground on the nearby Parramatta Rd at the intersection of Wattle Street.
The entire WestConnex project is slated for completion in 2023.
Building engineers are assessing the building for damage and NSW Police are on scene.
Originally published as Residents evacuated after cracks appear in unit block near M4