Why We Search: Australian Squatters

The occupied "vacant" building down under

In the Southbank area, firefighters of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (Australia) responded to an abandoned building fire. Upon arrival, crews faced squatters hanging out of windows of the upper floors. Among four rescued was a pregnant teenager. Each sqautter was removed over ladders while the fire was quickly extinguished. Incident Controller Trevor Bowen stated that the fire began when one squatter was trying to burn the insulation off a pile of copper wire.

"Pregnant teen among squatters rescued from Southbank blaze" Herald Sun
Squatters, pregnant teen pulled from burning building", The Age

While the general temperatures may be dipping, finding squatters in vacant, abandoned buildings is not a "bad weather" item. In fact, ever since we started, we've been noting the various fires in such structures as well as efforts to reduce risk, injury and the structures themselves, all year-round. Take note of what has happened over the summer on our Why We Search page.

Here are some of the current incidents we've noticed:

Huntington, WV Firefighters let abandoned house burn.

Detroit, MI Angels' Night fires hit 17-year low.

Quincy, IL City fire department begins marking vacant buildings.

Atlanta, GA Teens seen running from eyesore building shortly before fire.

Peoria, IL Roof collapses on building known for homeless people.

Glouchester City, NJ Homeless man admits to starting three-alarm fire.

For more to chew on, here is a FireRescue Magazine/FirefighterNation article by Jim McCormack (Fire Department Training Network) "Truck Company Operations at Vacant Building Fires".

Photos courtesy of Mike Keating/Melbourne Leader and Yvette Gray/3AW/The Age.



Bill Carey is the daily news and blog manager for Elsevier Public Safety (FireRescue Magazine/Firefighter Nation, JEMS and LawOfficer sites.) Bill also manages the FireEMSBlogs.com network and is a former volunteer lieutenant with the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George's County, Maryland.

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