YOUNG basketballers were evacuated from Wally Hagan Basketball Stadium in Hamilton Hill last night as smoke from a burning electronics store started filling the venue.
The arson squad is now investigating the fire which gutted Nix Fix Electronics on Rockingham Road just after 9pm, despite firefighters arriving within minutes and calling in backup to help tackle the flames.
Maria and Wasele Hosja were watching their grandkids playing basketball when the referee abandoned the match and ordered everyone out.
“There was an orderly exodus and the people were ordered out as smoke was entering the building,” Mr Hosja said.
“The fire continued to gain momentum to the south and the huge plume of billowing smoke continued to drift towards the northwest, and to the west end of the stadium and the open expanse of oval.”
Given the potential toxicity of smoke coming from a burning electronics store, Mr Hosja praised venue staff for doing their best to get the kids to safety.
“We feel that the whole effort was handled marvellously and maturely by all on duty last night, especially the regulars who have more than enough pressure inside the building, let alone unexpected hazardous incidents,” Mr Hosja said.
Neighbours reported hearing explosions and shattering glass as the electronics store burned. The damage was estimated at $600,000.
by STEVE GRANT