A lit cigarette is believed to have started a Melbourne high-rise fire that reignited concerns about combustible building cladding, similar to that fitted to London’s Grenfell Tower.

It’s believed the blaze started on a 22nd-floor balcony at 200 Spencer Street and quickly spread five storeys upward.

Residents of the 40-floor tower were woken by fire alarms early on Monday morning and emergency crews raced to the site, knowing of the added potential danger.

The MFB on Monday night confirmed a lit cigarette was the most probable cause for the blaze – which they say ignited combustible materials stored on the balcony.

The apartment building is one of more than 2000 inspected by the Victorian Building Authority, chief executive Sue Eddy confirmed.

She said the building had been declared a “moderate risk” and two notices were issued, requiring smoke alarms be installed in bedrooms adjacent to walls covered with the cladding.

Cities across the world began assessing buildings following London’s Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 when an inferno engulfed the 24-storey block of flats, killing 72 people.


Residents of the Melbourne tower have been barred from re-entering for 48 hours.

States and territories will be required to provide a progress update on implementing building regulations in regard to cladding at next week’s meeting of building ministers.


Gold 104.3 Melbourne