Flames were billowing out of the Electronics Factory Outlet in Parramatta from around 4am, causing jet-black mushroom clouds of toxic smoke to rise tens of metres into the air.
The two-storey electronics shop has been totally destroyed by the blaze, but fire and rescue officers appear to have saved furniture and tile shops, either side of the business, from significant damage.
Around a dozen fire engines were in attendance for the “fifth alarm” emergency – while police closed James Ruse Drive to traffic between River Road West and Hassall Street.
The owner of the ravaged shop, Louis Liu, arrived at the scene looking despondent around 4.45am, repeating to emergency services: “I’m the owner, I’m the owner,” as they attempted to divert him westbound.
Once at the scene, a seemingly shocked Mr Liu told The Daily Telegraph he wasn’t aware how the fire started.
“I have no idea,” he said. “There’s no-one inside. The firemen rang me.”
Mr Liu said his business was insured.Dozens of fire-fighters, on the ground and from a cherry-picker, worked in unison to hold back the flames which were chewing up microwaves, telephones and other electronic devices inside.
Co-owner Anne Liu said: “We live only five minutes away. My husband was in the other room, he came and woke me.
“He said ‘up, up, up, the warehouse is on fire.”
The Lius have owned the business for two years.
Parts of the front of the building began collapsing as fire and rescue officers blasted the façade with high-power hoses. Police will investigate how the fire started and arson has not been ruled out.
Traffic is expected to be thrown into chaos along James Ruse Drive, one of Sydney’s main arterial roads.
Nobody is believed to have been injured in the blaze.