Fire investigators on Tuesday afternoon had still not been able get inside a Newcastle West rug store, more than 18 hours after a fire started that ripped through the Parry Street business premises, creating serious questions over the building's structural integrity with fears it could collapse.
The Newcastle Herald understands investigators were looking into whether an electrical fault started the blaze at the Rahmani's Rug Gallery building late on Monday night, among a range of possible causes being considered.
Fire and Rescue NSW sent a specialist investigator to Newcastle but the investigator had not been able to enter the building as of late Tuesday afternoon, after the fire caused serious concerns over whether it was safe for anyone to be inside.
Police said engineers were assessing the building's structural integrity and the blaze was not being treated as suspicious.
The Newcastle Herald contacted the owner of the business, Sam Rahmani, but he was not available for comment on Tuesday.
Parry Street, which turns into King Street for traffic heading into the CBD, was at least partially closed for most of Tuesday, with only one of the three eastbound lanes open as of 4pm.
Fire crews raced to the scene about 11.30pm on Monday, where they found a large fire inside the rug store with heavy smoke coming from the roof.
More than 15 Fire and Rescue NSW trucks attended the scene carrying 60 firefighters, who were still working to extinguish the blaze on Tuesday morning.
The firefighters contained the inferno to the rug store, with Fire and Rescue NSW saying in a statement on Tuesday there had been "minimal spread and minor damage to neighbouring buildings".
"It was reported that residents were asleep in accommodation above the store and were evacuated, however there were no injuries," Fire and Rescue NSW said.
"Firefighters continued to work on extinguishing the fire until the early hours of the morning, contending with impending structural collapse and heavy rain."
The four-generation family business traces its origins in traditional rug weaving and wholesaling to Iran.
The Newcastle store opened in 1985 and the family also runs an outlet in the Brisbane suburb of Red Hill.
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