Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Fire experts say victims could have survived tragic fire

Fire experts say victims could have survived tragic house fire

Fire and Emergency has agreed with a range of recommendations in a Coroner’s report into New Zealand’s worst house fire since the 1970s.

The Coronial Inquiry examined evidence from a fire on 23 December, 2016, in Flat Bush, Auckland, that resulted in the tragic death of four family members.

Fire and Emergency’s Fire Investigation National Manager Peter Wilding says a range of unfortunate factors contributed to the deaths, but the fire was definitely survivable.

Mr Wilding says two people sleeping downstairs in the two-storey home escaped, but a grandmother, mother and child asleep upstairs weren’t able to get out.

"It appears that by the time they discovered the fire, it had already blocked the stairs leading to the exit. So they sheltered in the en-suite bathroom of an upstairs bedroom," Mr Wilding says.

The investigation discovered two doors were left open between the top of the stairs and where the family members fled.

"Tragically, our investigation shows that if they had closed the doors, the intense heat and toxic smoke from the fire probably wouldn’t have reached them.’’

Another family member tried to escape through an upstairs window but was severely burned and later passed away in hospital.

Mr Wilding says quickly escaping from a building that’s on fire is usually the safest option but that isn’t always possible.

"If you’re trapped inside, you can increase your chances of survival by shutting all doors between you and the fire, then placing bedding or clothing along the bottom of the door to keep the smoke out. This buys precious time for firefighters to arrive."

Mr Wilding says this was particularly important for people living in multi-level, terraced housing. Interconnected smoke alarms would also increase the chances of people being alerted to a fire, giving them more time to escape a building.

Investigators also learned that neighbours had heard sounds of windows breaking but didn’t immediately call emergency services.

"We’d rather respond to a 111 call and find we weren’t needed because it was a false alarm, than not be notified early enough.

"As communities, we need to look out for each other," Wilding says. "The earlier emergency services hear about an incident, the sooner we can get there to help you."

The Coroner’s report also recommended authorities should look at reducing furniture flammability. Large, padded furniture containing polyurethane foam is the single biggest contributor to the speed that fires develop in New Zealand homes. In a fire, they quickly produce intense heat and release highly poisonous gases, meaning there is less time for people to escape.

It also found that current building codes and tenancy regulations don’t adequately ensure that people in multi-level homes will be alerted by smoke alarms.

The report recommends looking at changes to building regulations around the installation of smoke alarms and residential sprinklers.

For more information on what it’s like to be in a house fire, see www.escapemyhouse.co.nz

To develop your own escape plan, go to https://escapeplanner.co.nz

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

21, 22, 23 December: Air NZ Workers Vote To Strike

The unions representing Air New Zealand Engineering and Logistics workers confirm that last week they issued three full-day strike notices for 21, 22, and 23 December.

Last week union members voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in response to the company’s low offer and requests for cuts to sick leave and overtime. More>>

 

"Sahared Interests And Democratic Values": Peters To Visit USA

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington D.C. for talks with US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and other senior members of the US Administration. More>>

Science Advisors: Stopping Family Violence – The Evidence

A new report “Every 4 minutes: A discussion paper on preventing family violence in New Zealand” by Justice sector Chief Science Advisor, Dr Ian Lambie, discusses the evidence and asks us, as a community, to get involved. More>>

ALSO:

Misuse Of Drugs Act: Medicinal Cannabis Legislation Passes

“Ultimately, this legislation will greatly increase availability of quality medicinal cannabis products, and will allow for their domestic manufacture. It will help people ease their suffering by making a wider range of quality medicinal cannabis products available over time." More>>

ALSO:

Conflicts, Inadequacies: IPCA Finds Police Investigation Flawed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police investigation into inappropriate contact between a teacher and a student in Gisborne in 2014 was deficient in several respects. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference Multimedia: Grace Millane, ACC Levy Hold, Absent Execs

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern began her Monday post-cabinet press conference with an emotional comment on the murder of English backpacker Grace Millane. More>>

ALSO:

Child Poverty Monitor: Food Poverty Due To Inadequate Income, Housing Cost

The latest Child Poverty Monitor released today by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner reveals alarming facts about children suffering the impacts of family income inadequacy, says Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG). More>>

ALSO:

Open Government: Proactively Release Of Ministerial Diaries

All Government Ministers will for the first time release details of their internal and external meetings, Minister for State Services (Open Government) Chris Hipkins announced today. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels