13/02/11 - Man trapped by burning apartment

Published: 13th February 2011

In the early hours of Sunday morning crews from Maroubra and Matraville responded to a unit fire in South Coogee. Due to the volume of calls and reports of a person trapped,Communications Centre escalated the incident to a 2nd alarm, responding Randwick, Botany, Woollahra's Ladder truck plus the Duty Commander Georges River. Maroubra arrived in 5 minutes, to find the male occupant hanging outside the bathroom window by his fingertips, with the unit well alight. The crew immediately got the truck's portable ladder up to the occupant in difficult terrain, and whilst his foot did get on the top rung he could not hold on any longer and fell. He was fortunate that his fall was broken firstly by the ladder, and then by the garbage bins below. Fire crews assisted police on scene treat the patient before handing over to ambulance personnel. The unit was extinguished, with contents totally destroyed by fire. The cause was determined as a discarded cigarette, and the smoke alarm within the unit had been disabled. The buildings smoke alarms alerted other occupants, with crews evacuating 20 residents.