Katoomba RSL Club “is completely gone” according to fire officers at the scene of the mammoth fire this afternoon.
A Fire and Rescue officer told the Gazette at 3.30pm today “the RSL is completely gone”.
The officer said they “were still in attack mode – we haven’t extinguished it”.
A partial roof collapse and wall collapse mean it is too dangerous for the officers to fight the fire from the inside.
Appliances from 10 stations are on the scene at Lurline Street, including two high rise aerial appliances, one from Huntingwood and one from Penrith.
“It’s too dangerous,” the officer said. “We’ve lost the club completely.”
Students at nearby Katoomba Public School were ordered to stay inside and keep windows and doors shut until their parents could pick them up.
The club was evacuated and issued a statement on their website it was closed until further notice.
The streets of Waratah, Lurline and Merriwa are blocked off and will remain closed until tomorrow.
The fire is believed to be the worst building fire in more than a decade in the Mountains.
It is believed the fire started in the club’s kitchen sometime after 1.30pm today.
Katoomba RSL Club posted on its Facebook page at 3.22pm: “Members, guests and staff who were in the club this afternoon are all well.
“We are unable to provide any further details at this stage.”
Structural engineers were on site on Saturday to help assess the building. An investigation by police and fire officers into the cause has not been possible because the site has not been declared structurally sound.
While initially fire officers thought it has started in the kitchen,witnesses are revealing it seemed to take hold in the roof