3 die in Australian nursing home fire

2011-11-18 08:10

kalahari.com

Sydney - Two fires raced through a Sydney nursing home filled with bedridden and mentally ill patients before dawn Friday, killing three elderly people and critically injuring eight as fire-fighters crawled through blinding smoke to rescue victims.

Authorities were investigating whether the fires, which broke out in separate parts of the complex, were arson. Fire Assistant Commissioner Jim Smith said a sniffer dog would search the ruins for traces of gasoline or other accelerants.

A total of 88 patients were evacuated from the single-story building in suburban Quakers Hill, many of them left in the open on beds and in wheelchairs until they could be transported to alternative accommodation. Many of the patients have dementia.

"This is a fire-fighter’s worst nightmare," Fire Commissioner Greg Mullins said. "Turning up to a nursing home with elderly people who can't get themselves out of harm's way."

Flames raced through the ceiling, and part of the roof of a wing collapsed. Police confirmed that three patients were dead, including two whose bodies remained in the charred ruins of a room where one of the fires started. That area was too dangerous for investigators to enter.

Ambulance Superintendent Ross Chivers said 29 patients were taken to hospitals to be treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns, and that eight of them were critically ill. No staff member was injured.

Federal Minister for Mental Health and Aging Mark Butler said the nursing home's fire safety systems were found to meet standards during an audit in July. Smith, the assistant fire commissioner, said the nursing home did not have sprinklers but was not required by law to have such a fire safety system.

"The reason there's not more fatalities is the tremendous work of the emergency workers getting there very quickly ... and rescuing those patients very quickly," Smith said.

Neighbour Don Cook, who shares a fence with the nursing home, was among the first on the scene to see patients carried out.

"The old people, a lot of them seemed to be staring into space - they didn't know what was going on," Cook told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio. "To me, a lot of them looked bewildered."

Fire-fighters described the blaze as Sydney's worst since 16 patients died in a nursing home fire in suburban Sylvania Heights in 1981.

- AP

Read more on:    australia
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Cape Town - 16:15 PM
    Road name: Wet Weather
    RAIN across the greater Cape Town area - drive with care and use headlights - Allow Extra Tavel Time
  • Friday Kuils River - 09:28 AM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The day may have a fluctuating sensitive energy to begin with, but later when the Moon moves into dramatic and creative Leo you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.