Evidence: NZFS Misrepresentations

Tokona/Felton Coronial Inquest | Oct 5 2015

Coroner's Findings:

"The alarms that were installed were ionization only."

  Reserved Decision of Coroner Tim Scott | Page 7, Paragraph 2 | 19 Dec 2016

 

“It is possible that if the alarms had been photoelectric rather than ionization
 alarms they may have sounded earlier and whanau may have responded earlier
and had that happened Bessie and Eunice may have been able to make their escape.”

 Reserved Decision of Coroner Tim Scott | Page 8, Paragraph 3 | 19 Dec 2016

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11 May 2016

4.  HNZC News | 'Smoke Alarm Upgrade to

     Save Lives, and the Planet'   |  11 May 2016

Note: Web page extract taken from Housing New Zealand Corporation's website on 14 Oct 2019:
          www.hnzc.co.nz/news/news-archive/smoke-alarm-upgrade-to-save-lives-and-the-planet

World Fire Safety Foundation Comments:

Based on information obtained under the Official Information Act, the 250,000+ ionization smoke alarms installed in HNZC homes were, on average, approximately 5 years old. Smoke alarms have a ten year life. The cost to tax payers to purchase these alarms was approximately NZ$5,000,000. However, HNZC commendably replaced all their ionization alarms (at an additional cost to the taxpayer of more than an additional $5,000,000) with photoelectric/heat combination alarms half way through their service life.

 

Given the NZFS were mentioned in the HNZC's report above, they would have been were aware that
HNZC were replacing all 250,000+ alarms approximately half way through their ten year service life.

 

The HNZC news item above was dated 11 May 2016. The Tokona/Felton Coronial Inquest where the NZFS misled the Coroner was held 5 months later - on 5 October 2016.

 

In his 'Reserved Decision', Coroner Tim Scott reported that nine ionization smoke alarms were present in the Tokona's state house at the time of the fire. He went on to say:

"Why Did Bessie and Eunice Not Escape the Fire?

...It is possible that if the alarms had been photoelectric rather than ionization

alarms they may have sounded earlier and whenau may have responded earlier

and had that happened Bessie and Eunice may have been able to make their escape."

    Tokona/Felton Coronial Inquest | Reserved Decision of Coroner Tim Scott | Clause 33, Page 8 | 19 Dec 2016

 

World Fire Safety Foundation Comments:

Testing of the 'IoPhic' smoke alarms above was commissioned by Consumer N.Z. and
conducted by BRANZ in June 2014. In these tests the 'IoPhic' smoke alarm (MDS300L)
referred to below was called a 'modified ionization alarm' by Consumer New Zealand and
listed together with all the other ionization alarms.

 

In clause 20 the NZFS acknowledged awareness of the 2014 BRANZ tests which listed
USI's MDS300L as an ionization alarm NOT a combination ionization/photoelectric alarm.

Extract Consumer New Zealand 2014 Smoke Alarm Tests

Showing Housing New Zealand MDS300L Failing Smoldering Fire Tests

New Zealand Fire Service Commission

Statement to Coroner  |  3 Oct 2016

Clause 20, Page 3

"BRANZ/Consumer tested a number of New Zealand marketed smoke alarms and
 that the best product was a photoelectric smoke alarm as it performed more reliably
 across the entire testing regime.

Clause 35, Page 6
"Otherwise, I note that Mr Butler appears to believe that the IoPhic (ionization) smoke

 alarms installed at 15 Exeter Crescent were ionization alarms. In contrast, my understanding
 on the basis of manufacturer’s information provided by Housing New Zealand Corporation is
 that the alarms were combination ionization and photoelectric alarms."

 

3 Oct 2016

Coroner's Memo to WFSF Rescinding

               Permission to Testify at Inquest  |  4 Oct 2016

Page 1, Paragraph 5

"I accept that the evidence establishes:

 (a) That combined ionization/photoelectric smoke alarms were installed in the house..."

WFSF Email to Coroner | Requesting
     
Permission to Testify at Inquest  |  4 Oct 2016

Page 1, Paragraph 5

"I request that I be allowed to testify tomorrow and would be more than
 happy to be cross examined by the New Zealand Fire Service or anyone else."

4 Oct 2016

'Coroner's inquest: Woman
Breaks Down as She Tells of Fatal Fire'

(The NZFS)
"...told the inquest they believed the alarms were the combined ones,
    but co-founder of the World Fire Safety Foundation Adrian Butler
    told Coroner Scott he did not believe this was the case.

 

    He referred to the operations manual of the product and said it stated
    clearly these alarms had only one sensor - an ionization one.

 

    He concluded if this was the case, the alarms would only have been
    activated if the fire was flaming and not smoldering."

Jono Galuzka, Reporter | Manawatu Standard | 5 Oct 2016

'Fire Alarms at Centre of Inquest into

Deaths of Bessie Tokona and Eunice Felton'

"The type and placement of smoke alarms installed in a state house may
have contributed to the deaths of a young girl and her grandmother in a fire."

"Adrian Butler, a former firefighter who now runs the World Fire Safety Foundation . . . produced
a 2014 report from Consumer NZ, which found the alarm rated 8.2 out of 10 for detecting
flaming fires, but
0 out of 10 at detecting smoldering fires." (emphasis added)

5 Oct 2016

19 Dec 2016

'Certificate of Findings' and 'Reserved
Decision of Coroner Tim Scott'
| 19 Dec 2016

"It is possible that if the alarms had been photoelectric rather than ionization

alarms that they may have sounded earlier and whenau may have responded earlier

and had that happened Bessie and Eunice may have been able to make their escape."

Tokona/Felton Coronial Inquest | Reserved Decision of Coroner Tim Scott | Page 8, Para 3 | 19 Dec 2016

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