A fire broke out in the old Roads and Traffic Authority building at the corner of Gurwood and Beckwith streets have prompted Fire Brigade authorities to sent urgent health warning this morning to the residents of central Wagga Wagga, in Southern NSW, about the release of deadly asbestos fibres.
Senior environmental health officer Tony Burns says central Wagga residents should stay indoors and avoid the smoke.
We'd actually be asking people to, because the health warning isn't known at this stage and the risk isn't known, we're asking people to stay inside and stay away from the area until such time as the plume clears.
He says it is important to get the warning out before people get out and about.
A NSW Fire Brigades' spokesman says neighbours have been evacuated as a precaution and Gurwood Street is closed.
The Wagga Local Aboriginal Land Council secured the old RTA building after a successful appeal to the High Court.
The land council is yet to decide whether to sell or develop the site.
It has been the target of numerous vandal attacks in the past decade and about 5:00am (AEST) today, firefighters were called to the top floor.
The Education Department says students of the nearby Wagga Wagga Public School who walk to school should take a route away from the fire area, which is a block from the school.
The department says students arriving by bus or car will be delivered on the opposite side of the school to the fire and will be taken directly to their classrooms.
Parents of students who walk to school have been urged if they have any concerns they can keep their children home until they consider it is safe.