Triple Fatality with 'Working' Smoke Alarms

Singleton Tragedy  |  NSW Australia  |  26 June 2019

Singleton, NSW
Three children die after a house fire
fitted with 'working' smoke alarms.

Were they ionization alarms?

Why did they fail to save the children?

Please help surviving family: Go Fund Me

Blake (11)

Scarlett &
Matylda (5)

Three Children Perish After House
Fire with 'Working' Smoke Alarms

Media Reports

Friday 28 June 2019

Eleanor Baxter, Reporter | ABC Radio National | 26 June 2019

2:04 "He (FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter) says the
         Singleton house was equipped with
smoke alarms."

Paul Baxter

Commissioner, FRNSW

1:48 "You must have working smoke alarms in all areas of your home."

David Isaac

Fire Protection Engineer

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter | ABC Radio | 26 June 2019

3:43 "We have to have (photoelectric) smoke alarms that..
          will detect the fire at that very early smoldering phase."

David Isaac, Independent Fire Protection Engineer
ABC Radio National | 26 June 2019

Press 'Play' button above   |    Download MP3  (1.8 Megs)

Singleton Tragedy - Newspaper Report

The Examiner | Tasmania, Australia | Friday 28 June 2019

Sue Bailey

Tasmanian homes should have photoelectric smoke alarms in every room because fires can take hold in three minutes making escape almost impossible, a fire engineer says.


Standards Australia committee member and electrical engineer David Isaac said modern homes had more electrical equipment and synthetic materials which burned quickly.


"People need to understand that once flames start there is three minutes or less to get out before it takes hold," Mr Isaac said.


"Once the fire reaches flashover, when the flames take hold, a fire travels at eight metres a second and no-one can survive.


"Thirty years ago you probably had 20 minutes to get out but today homes have more synthetic materials and plastics, the fire spreads more rapidly."


Mr Isaac said 150 Australians died in house fires each year and the number could be halved with the use of smoke photoelectric alarms.

"If it was in the building code that people had to use photoelectric alarms, which are used in hospitals and hotels, instead of ionized alarms you could reduce deaths by 50 per cent," he said.


"One smoke alarm is not enough, they should be in every room."


Mr Isaac said the death of three children in a house fire in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales made his "heart bleed".


There have been three deaths in house fires in Southern Tasmania this year.


Tasmania Fire Service acting director of community fire safety Chris Collins said the TFS recommended photoelectric smoke alarms be installed in every sleeping area, hallway and living areas.


Mr Collins agreed that the behaviour of house fires had "changed considerably over the past fifty years".


"Buildings are constructed differently using a wide range of more flammable materials and the average home contains modern furnishings which burn hotter and faster and release a cocktail of toxic gases," Mr Collins said.

"With the addition of more televisions, furnishings and toys in the average home, a fire in a room progresses to a room on fire, or flashover, much faster.


"Because of these factors, people have less time to escape a house fire alive than they might have in the past."


Mr Isaac said only the Queensland and Northern Territory government had introduced legislation to make it compulsory to have inter-connected photoelectric smoke alarms in all bedrooms, living areas and hallways and all levels of a house.


"We need smoke alarms to be covered in the Australian building code and not to be over-ridden by state laws," he said.


"Everybody should be asking if it is enough to have one working smoke alarm why are we still finding bodies in fires.


"The fire can start but the alarm won't go off until there are flames."

20 June 18
Winter warning after rise in Tasmanian fire claims
'The Examiner' story - Tasmania Fire Service recommending "working" smoke alarms

Note: Photoelectric smoke alarms are not mentioned/recommended

10 May 17
Fire service calls on residents to be safe
The Examiner' story - Tasmania Fire Service recommending "working" smoke alarms

Note: Photoelectric smoke alarms are not mentioned/recommended


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