Thousands Evacuated on Christmas Eve After 'Cracking' Sounds Heard in New High-Rise

Opal Towers was evacuated on Christmas after residents feared it may collapse.
Credit: Getty Images

Police said they are investigating the situation while residents remain in an evacuation center.

Thousands of people were evacuated from their Australia homes ahead of Christmas after residents in a high-rise building reported hearing “cracking” noises and feared the building might be unstable.

The 36-story apartment building, the Opal Tower Complex, in Sydney has 392 apartments and residents on numerous floors complained of hearing the worrisome sounds coming from the building on Christmas Eve.

Police and the fire department have evacuated more than 3,000 residents in the building and surrounding areas while they conduct an investigation, according to The Associated Press.

"It's not going to be done in minutes. Hopefully it won't take longer than hours," Fire and Rescue Acting Inspector Greg Wright said of the investigation. 

Power and water was shut off in the building and authorities had to pry doors open so that residents could exit the building, the AP reported.

The building has moved 1 to 2 millimeters since it was finished in August, authorities said, after they used “sensitive monitoring equipment” to test it.

Residents from a nearby building who were evacuated reportedly received an email stating that the tower could potentially collapse, but the reports have not been confirmed.

The potential danger also prompted road closures and a shut down of a nearby train station.

The displaced residents are currently staying at an evacuation center, according to reports.