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Probable cause of Melbourne apartment fire uncovered

A new Victorian agency will oversee a $600 million funding package to fix buildings with combustible cladding, funded partially by a new building permit levy.

Melbourne’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) has found the most probable cause for what sparked a fire at an apartment on Spencer Street.

MFB investigators have concluded that a discarded cigarette is most likely behind the fire that ignited combustible materials stored on the balcony.

The fire started on the side of the building on the 22nd floor and moved up the outside of the building through to the 27th floor.

The building was identified as having combustible cladding but was brought under control in just over an hour.

In 2015 the Victorian Building Authority and the City of Melbourne undertook an assessment of the building and found the exterior had contained combustible cladding.

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The City of Melbourne issues a building notice to ensure any risks associated with cladding were addressed. The council required the building owners to upgrade fire safety measures, which was completed. The impact of the cladding, if any, is still under investigation.

At the height of the blaze there were more than 80 firefighters battling the blaze from multiple sides.

The City of Melbourne set up a relief centre at Melbourne Town Hall to provide food, counselling and relief services while the status of the apartment building is being assessed.

Victoria Police, the Salvation Army and Ambulance Victoria are providing assistance at the centre.

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