September 5 2014

– A MAN killed in a Sydney explosion and fire should have been safe in his own bed, his grieving family said, as two more bodies were found in the wrecked building.

Chris Noble, 27, was one of three people killed when a blast and fire destroyed a convenience store and adjoining units in Rozelle early yesterday.

Emergency workers today found two more bodies, believed to be those of Bianka O’Brien, 31, and her 12-month-old son Jude, who were in a neighbouring unit at the rear of the store.

Police say the explosion and fire, which flattened the building, is being treated as suspicious.

Mr Noble’s mother Liz Noble said “We lost our beautiful boy yesterday. He should have been safe sleeping in his own bed.

“We are gutted. We will remember Chris for his athletic ability, his work ethic, his watch collection and his … love for his family and friends.”

Mr Noble, a gifted athlete from the country NSW town of Canowindra who played both Rugby union and rugby league to a high standard, moved to Sydney several years ago and was living in the apartment in Darling Street when it was explosion occurred around 4am yesterday.

His body was found late last night.

Mr Noble had recently returned from a trip to South America and was planning to move to the UK with a close friend shortly after Christmas.

The middle child of three, he was described by one friend as “really outgoing. “I’ve never met someone who so many people considered their best friend.”

Two more bodies, believed to be those of Ms O’Brien and her son Jude, were found amid the ruins of the building earlier today. Their identities have not yet been formally confirmed.

John O’Brien, the husband and father, had reportedly left for work at a hospital just an hour before yesterday’s explosion.

Two men leapt from the first floor of the burning building after the 4am explosion, which shattered windows in nearby buildings. Another man was dug out by hand by emergency services after being buried under a refrigerator.

Police said the owner of the shop was in hospital in a serious condition and had yet to be interviewed.

Police are reviewing CCTV footage of the blaze. Investigators are looking into reports of a car fleeing the area after the explosion.

NSW Police have formed a strike force to investigate the explosion, led by detectives from the Property Crime Squad’s dedicated arson unit.

“We are treating the fire as suspicious, however, given the investigation is still in its infancy, I cannot go into detail on our lines of inquiry,” Detective Superintendent Murray Chapman said.

“Three people have lost their lives in this event, and our thoughts are with their families and friends who are grief-stricken,” Mr Chapman said.

Nearby store owner Wendy Doughty said the community was in shock.

“I am feeling quite emotional about it. I have been part of this community for 25 years,” she said.

“I have never known such an awful eerie feeling in the district.

“I am feeling a little bit scared and fragile.”

Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne said: “I think it’s going to leave a hole in the heart of our community for some time to come.

– Dan Box


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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