News & Media

Elderly woman rescued from Craigieburn house fire

  • A smoke alarm failed to alert the resident to the fire because batteries were not properly inserted.

By: CFA Media

Category: Community Safety, Incidents - Structure

  11.55 AM 19 September, 2016

Location: District 14 News

Views: 9925

An elderly woman was rescued from her burning home in Craigieburn about 8.30pm on Sunday night (18 September).

CFA firefighters wearing breathing apparatus found the woman in one of the bedrooms of the home and were able to assist her to evacuate the property, placing her in the care of Ambulance Victoria paramedics who took her to the Northern hospital.

The back of the house and roof were severely damaged in the blaze, which took about 30 minutes to bring under control. 

Operations Officer Gavin Wright said the fire was most likely caused by an exhaust fan in the bathroom.

“The fire has gone up and burned along roof before dropping down into the living room. Part of the ceiling has collapsed and the couch and chairs caught alight,” he said. 

“Craigieburn crews and MFB PT 9 did a great job to rescue the occupant, give her medical treatment and rapidly knock down the fire and contain it to only about 25 per cent of the building.

Mr Wright said that while there was a smoke alarm in the house, it did not sound due to the batteries being poorly fitted. Firefighters who later checked the alarm said it would have worked had the batteries been arranged correctly. 

Gavin said it was a passer-by, not the resident, who had called Triple Zero, and that the woman's rescue had been time-critical.

“They saw the black smoke issuing from under the eaves of the house and saw the glow inside. 

“One more minute and she might not have made it.”

Incident Controller and Craigieburn Brigade Senior Station Officer David Maxwell said this was a timely reminder to always check your smoke alarms are working effectively.

“She was extremely lucky we got there when we did because the heat was really strong and fire had already done serious damage to the house,” Mr Maxwell said.

“While we encourage people to put out small fires - for example those that start in the kitchen and can be put out by fire blankets or home extinguishers - this one had gotten well out of control.

“In those situations, you should always evacuate safely and call Triple Zerp.”

Fire investigators were at the property on Monday.

Two CFA trucks from Craigieburn attended, alongside an MFB truck, police, and gas and electrical specialists.

Last Updated: 27 September 2016