There have been 2 avoidable residential structure fire fatalities so far this calendar year. Could working smoke alarms have prevented this?
On 5 January, a 62 year old woman living alone died in Orewa, north Auckland following a fire that began in a garage and quickly spread to the rest of the adjoining house. The woman was dragged unconscious from the burning building but later died.
The cause of the fire is believed to be a burning couch in the garage where the woman regularly smoked cigarettes.
Fire Investigators found evidence of two ionisation smoke alarms installed in the home, but no batteries.
The fire spread quickly due to the flammable nature of modern furnishings in the home. The woman’s partner died 18 months previously.
On 8 January, a 66 year old man living alone in Marton died following a fire in his rental property in the early hours of the morning. The man’s body was found in the lounge. He was known to be a heavy smoker and drinker, and was on dialysis for kidney problems.
Fire Investigators found no evidence of smoke alarms at the property.
The most likely cause of the fire is believed to be a lounge chair that ignited following a dropped cigarette or an LPG gas heater that caused it to catch fire.