TVSN was briefly taken off the air last night when the Innovations Park campus at Frenchs Forest was evacuated due to a fire.

Just after 7.00pm last night (Thursday, 16 November), Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Forestville, Dee Why and Manly Stations responded to a fire alarm at the Innovations Park campus at Warringah Road, Frenchs Forest.

Frenchs Forest fire disrupts broadcast

Around a dozen people who were in the building at the time were evacuated, including those working in the studios of shopping channel TVSN, which broadcasts from the Innovations Park campus.

As the evacuation warning sounded, host Maryanne Barjel initially said in disbelief, ‘We can’t leave, we’re in live television!’, but the broadcast was interrupted shortly after and placed onto a recorded loop as the evacuation warning sounded and all staff left the building.

Frenchs Forest fire disrupts broadcast

With staff safely evacuated, firefighters made their way into the building to locate the source of smoke that had been detected.

Fortunately, FRNSW had recently undertaken a familiarisation exercise at the Innovations Park campus, which was formerly the Avon headquarters, and contains a number of commercial buildings with potentially confusing interconnections.

Frenchs Forest fire disrupts broadcast

According to Fire and Rescue NSW Forestville Station Officer Brett Farmer, who was Incident Commander at the scene, the source of the fire was traced to a disused electrical system within the building.

“The system probably hadn’t been used since the 1980s, and we’re not sure what the cause of ignition was. The building manager will be looking into whether there was perhaps an electrical fault. They will get an electrician in to see if there was power to it.

“When we arrived, there was quite a bit of smoke. In what was essentially a service shaft, there was a lot of smoke and some flame coming out of a flue that would have originally been connected to the roof.

“Because it hadn’t been used, it was disconnected and it just obviously filled the building up with smoke. Fortunately, we were alerted to the fire by the automated fire alarm in the building, so we got there quite quickly to extinguish it,” said SO Farmer.

Firefighters in breathing apparatus used two CO2 extinguishers to put out the fire, limiting water damage to the building that would have been caused by using hose lines. They then used a high-powered fan to clear smoke from the building and allow staff to return by 8.45pm.

The normal TVSN broadcast was resumed in time for the ‘Dolly Parton at TVSN’ hour at 9.30pm.

Images and video: Northern Beaches Advocate

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