Arson squad investigation begins as 80 percent of one area in Gidgegannup is destroyed by fire

Sarah Steger and Emily MoultonThe West Australian
The out-of-control Wooloroo Fire.
Camera IconThe out-of-control Wooloroo Fire. Credit: ABC NEWS/ABC NEWS

Gidgegannup in Perth’s east has been devastated by fire after an out-of-control blaze destroyed 80 per cent of homes in the Tilden Park area.

The fire had already destroyed or damaged up to 30 homes across Perth’s nort eastern suburbs and razed 7000 hectares of land so far.

Premier Mark McGowan has described the fire conditions as "extremely volatile".

Mr McGowan said authorities were still determining whether there any lives had been lost.

"DFES advise they have lost 80 percent of all properties in the rural area of Tilden (Drive) in Gidgegannup," he said.

"This is an extremely concerning and serious situation. Our thoughts are with the people impacted.”

"Can I also give my heartfelt thanks to our firefighters and emergency workers who have done and continue to perform a crucial and critical role. You are true heroes."

The of City of Swan estimates there around 160 houses in the Tilden Estate region. The estate is made up of large properties, most of which run off Tilden Road. It is unclear exactly how many homes in the estate have been razed.

More than 250 firefighters are still battling the out-of-control blaze.
Camera IconMore than 250 firefighters are still battling the out-of-control blaze. Credit: DFES Incident Photographers Evan Collis;Greg Bell and Brenden Scott/DFES

Mr McGowan also confirmed hundreds of homes and businesses remained without power.

He said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had been briefed on the fire's progress.

Firefighters are still battling an intense bushfire at Wooroloo, which remains at an Emergency Warning. Taken from the Herne Hill.
Camera IconFirefighters are still battling an intense bushfire at Wooroloo, which remains at an Emergency Warning. Taken from the Herne Hill. Credit: Sarah Steger/The West Australian

A huge contingent of arson squad detectives are out at the scene of the fire currently trying to establish the source and cause of the blaze.

“We haven’t identified if it was deliberate yet but it’s our number one priority,” detective sergeant Dale Harmer said.

“We will be out here all day working on it.”

Evacuees line up for food at the evacuation centre at Brown Park, Swan View.
Camera IconEvacuees line up for food at the evacuation centre at Brown Park, Swan View. Credit: Danella Bevis/The West Australian

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes, as the fire continues to rage.

A resident living opposite the Brown Park Recreation Centre-turned evacuation ground in Swan View rushed to the help of a woman whose dog was having problems breathing.

The 14-year-old English Setter named Dalai was severely stressed and unable to stand for several minutes.

One resident ran to help the woman, bringing with her a hose and a bowl.
Camera IconOne resident ran to help the woman, bringing with her a hose and a bowl. Credit: Sarah Steger

His owner told The West Australian she’d been dampening down her house in Ellenbrook since 4am today, before rushing from the area to the evacuation centre in Swan View.

After pulling over on Salisbury Road, the woman jumped out of the car and started screaming for help and water.

She rushed to open the boot, revealing her panicked pet lying on his side in the back of the car.

Every few seconds Dalai would let out a series of squeaky sounding barks. He was distressed and dehydrated.

“He’s just really stressed, there was ash around everywhere at our house, and I’ve been dampening down since 4am this morning,” the dog’s owner said.

“We could see it from the ridge. We have the sprinkler going on the roof too, it was pretty stressful.”

One resident ran to help the woman, bringing with her a hose and a bowl.
Camera IconOne resident ran to help the woman, bringing with her a hose and a bowl. Credit: Sarah Steger

One resident ran to help the woman, bringing with her a hose and a bowl which she and the owner used to pour water over the dog.

It prompted another resident to set up a water station for pets on the side of the road, which a number of evacuees sitting in their cars with their pets took advantage of minutes later. 

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