Squatters under fire
Car blaze exposes unit squalor
RESIDENTS of a Western Sydney housing commission block say that for years squatters have been living in their ground-floor garages, where a 4WD burst into flames yesterday.
A mother-of-six found her Toyota Kluger well ablaze in the carpark of the complex on Second Ave, Blacktown, just before 1am.
“I was asleep and heard a noise … I ran down there and I start crying: ‘My car’,” she told The Daily Telegraph.
Five people from the apartments above were treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation
NSW Fire and Rescue crews attended to extinguish the blaze and move the car away from the unit block.
But firefighters also discovered a mattress and barbecue were set up in one of the block’s garages amid putrid conditions.
Dozens of cigarette butts could be seen on the ground among broken glass, filthy clothing and takeaway food containers.
There was a note on the ceiling which said: “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Police confirmed that people had been sleeping rough in the garage and had been ordered to move on following the fire.
But residents said the group had been told to leave many times over the past few years but continued to return each time.
A woman living at the garage’s corresponding unit said the group of young men had persistently returned for two years despite repeated attempts to get them out.
“I opened my garage up one day there were 20 of them in there, asleep on the ground … it was putrid,” the woman said.
A spokeswoman for Family and Community Services, which oversees social housing, said that they had been aware of the squatter issue since last year and were working with police to monitor the property.
The remnants of the car fire in Blacktown yesterday and (inset) the wretched mess found in the garage.