Quick Thinking Tasmania Police Officers Avert a Tragedy

Tasmania Police

Police attached to Strike Force Trident have forcibly entered a house in Karama overnight after responding to a report of a fire.

Detective Sergeant Mark Bland said the two Officers were in the area when a call was received at 9:50pm alerting them to a possible house fire.

“On arrival at the location they spoke to neighbours who said an elderly man lived in the house and was most likely still inside.

“Officers could see flames in the kitchen and could hear a smoke alarm going off inside the residence.
“After repeated attempts to wake the man from outside, they made the decision to scale the large fence before forcing their way into the house.”

Detective Sergeant Bland said the house was filled with white smoke and the elderly gentleman was evacuated from the building before being treated by St John crews for smoke inhalation.

“The fire turned out to be a citronella candle in the kitchen which was putting off enough smoke to trip the alarm.

“Complicating matters was that the man, aged in his 80’s, was deaf and unable to hear the alarm or Police attempting to alert him.

“There is no doubt that without the neighbour’s prompt action to report a smoke alarm being activated and the actions of Police on arrival, it is highly likely the flames would have spread or the smoke would have asphyxiated the occupant.”

Note: Citronella candles are recommended for outdoor use only.

Fire Safety Check-list

  • Remember to check the alarm batteries regularly and test the alarms.
  • Ensure emergency numbers are keyed into all the phones (and mobile phones) in your home.
  • Teach your children how to contact 000 emergency services.
  • Identify the quickest, safest way to get out of the house from every room, including upper floors.
  • Agree on a place to meet outside (letter box or nature strip) and practise it.
  • Ensure your house number is clearly visible so emergency services can find you quickly.
  • Use the home fire escape plan template to document your plan.

Visit Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board for more life-saving information.

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