A massive fire broke out in western Sydney this afternoon, gutting a townhouse and forcing dozens of terrified residents to flee their homes.
The blaze started on grassland in Mount Druitt and rapidly spread to nearby houses at around 4pm before eight fire trucks rushed to the scene and put out the flames.
The townhouse that was damaged belonged to hoarders and was the first to catch fire due to the amount of flammable items kept in the garden and kitchen.
Police have now declared a crime scene as they probe the possibility the blaze was started deliberately.
One policeman went to hospital suffering smoke inhalation but there were no other injuries.
Inferno: This image shared on social media showed the fire sending thick smoke into the sky
Fire: The blaze started on grassland in Mount Druitt and spread to nearby homes
Damage: One townhouse was gutted by the flames which firecrews have now put out
Dramatic pictures from the scene showed firemen hosing the charred grassland as smoke billowed into the sky near a busy road
This aerial image shows the damaged shrubland after the fire burnt grassland in western Sydney
One policeman went to hospital suffering smoke inhalation but there were no other injuries
Dramatic pictures from the scene showed firemen hosing the charred grassland as smoke billowed into the sky near a busy road.
Witness Jack Brammal told Nine News: ‘The people in the houses didn’t know that anything was going on. I just jumped into survival mode and started knocking on doors trying to get people out.’
Resident Maya Villanuava added: ‘I was panicking, I was crying, I was screaming and scared.’
The fire service tweeted: ‘Crews are responding to a bush fire near Hythe St. An area of bush and grass is alight. Firefighters are attacking the fire.’
It comes after a separate truck fire this morning held up traffic on the M5 for hours.
All westbound lanes were closed on the M5, between General Holmes Drive and Beverly Hills in Kyeemagh, when the truck caught fire about 7.10am.
Fire crews rushed to the scene and put out the flames which damaged a townhouse, a pergola and a shed
This image shows firecrews on the scene in western Sydney as smoke billowed into the sky
A fireman hoses the charred grassland as his crew battle the flames which gutted a townhouse
The closure caused a traffic build-up for several kilometres on the M5 and into the Sydney Airport Tunnel.
Emergency services were called to the incident shortly after 7am. Fire crews put the fire out, and a tow truck was called to remove the truck. The driver was uninjured.
The truck was moved from the M5 about 8.30, but traffic remained backed-up.
Sydney motorists have been urged to avoid the area, and use the D5 detour due to major traffic delays.
A truck has caught on fire near Sydney Airport, causing traffic chaos for commuters on the M5 on Wednesday morning