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.

We encourage and support constructive dialogue and debate. View our comment policy.



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Comments
John Pignataro
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Bravo sir ...This battle began in the early 1990's having been a career DC Fireman for 30 yrs and a still active volunteer fireman for 37 the mentality has changed since 1977. Your article is clear and to the point but I am afraid the fire service maybe lost to the folks who preach the…
2014-08-23 01:12:28
Ben Waller
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Actually, the "Women and children first" idea cane from the sinking if the HMS Birkenhead. Now known as "The Birkenhead Drill", this stemmed from the ship beginning to sink, an inadequate number of lifeboats, and the Royal Marines and soldiers on board being called to formation and standing in ranks while the ships crew put…
2014-08-21 11:25:14
Ron Ayotte
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Bing-freaking-o!
2014-08-21 02:49:30
Brian Gary
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Very well written. I couldn't agree more with your statements. The problems are many, but they perpetuate and increase with every new class of recruits that are poisoned with the idea that anyone who feels unsafe has a responsibility to act and stop whatever is going on. When I came on, my instructors told me…
2014-08-21 02:04:23
Ric Jorge
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Atta boy David, customer service or customer satisfaction? The line is fine, and more often than not we can accomplish both with action, and a kind demeanor.
2014-08-21 01:41:12
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