Aged care facility fire leads to mass evacuation

More than 100 residents and staff were safely evacuated from an aged care facility after a fire broke out on 1 April 2020.


At 4.50pm on Wednesday 1 April brigades responded to a reported structure fire at a three-storey facility in Templestowe.

With flames visible, a call was put out to make pumpers eight, leading to a prompt response from surrounding CFA and MFB crews.

Firefighters in breathing apparatus quickly extinguished the fire, working with Victoria Police and facility staff to evacuate residents from the smoke-filled facility.

SSO Houston from Eltham City Fire Brigade said the layout of the three-storey facility added another level of complexity to the initial search and rescue.

“The primary search found two residents still in their rooms which were not smoke filled,” SSO Houston said.

“These residents remained in their rooms with firefighters until the fire was contained.”

Ambulance Victoria assessed residents as they were evacuated to ensure they were not unwell from the incident.

In total, 97 residents were evacuated along with 24 staff, with nil reports of injuries.

Some residents required relocation to alternate aged care facilities for the night due to smoke damage to their rooms.

Warrandyte Fire Brigade second Lieutenant Aaron Dean said all crews involved in the initial fire fight worked together to quickly contain the fire and prevent it spreading throughout the facility.

“Investigations found the fire started in an air-conditioning unit,” Aaron said.

“As we head into the colder months, it’s a timely reminder to everyone to check and clean their heating and cooling units.”

The following resources worked together to ensure a safe outcome for all involved, especially the facility’s residents: Warrandyte Fire Brigade, Eltham City Fire Brigade ,South Warrandyte Fire Brigade, North Warrandyte Fire Brigade,  Metropolitan Fire Brigade (Station 30 - Templestowe, Station 20 - Box Hill, Station 27 - Nunawading, Station 19 - Balwyn, Station 1 - Eastern Hill), District 13 RDO, Bayswater Fire Brigade, Olinda Fire Brigade, Yellingbo Fire Brigade, Ambulance Victoria, Victoria Police, and the State Emergency Service (Manningham unit and Nillumbik unit).


Author: Will Hodgson