A man carrying a backpack stormed into the office of the Fair Work Ombudsman, lit three or four fires and yelled at staff this morning, police say.
Detective Inspector John Maricic, from City Central Local Area Command, said police were still investigating the unknown man's motive and there was no indication he was a disgruntled employee.
Firefighters were called to the office on the fifth floor of a building on Elizabeth Street - which has an entrance directly opposite the Sydney Central Fire Station on Castlereagh Street - before 9am, Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Tom Cooper said.
"Fire crews arrived and they found a number of small fires and a sprinkler operating," he said.Advertisement
No one was injured and about 500 workers were evacuated to Hyde Park from the 11-storey building, which is occupied mostly by federal government agencies.
Detective Inspector Maricic said he understood most floors, including the fifth, could be accessed by the public.
He said staff saw the man carrying something, but he could not confirm whether it was a knife or sword of some kind.
"There was some confrontation, but exactly what he said I can't say," Detective Inspector Maricic said.
"Certainly there's no motive at this stage and, certainly, we don't know who we're looking for.
"There's no information to suggest why he went there; that's still unclear."
Police will look at CCTV footage to work out how the man got in and out of the building.
"Obviously, it's a very serious offence," Detective Inspector Maricic said.
The Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson issued a statement expressing concern for the staff.
"The security incident is of significant concern and there will be a thorough review of agency security."
He said it was important for staff to feel safe and secure in their workplace.
Firefighters from the Sydney headquarters drove their truck 50 metres down the road to put out the fires, while crews from Pyrmont and Glebe also attended.
The man was described as being about 30 years old, 175 centimetres tall, with a solid build.
Police appealed for anyone who might have seen him enter or leave the building to contact them via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Angry man starts fires in Fair Work Ombudsman's office #FWA