Olympic Village Fire: Alarms Fail To Alert Australian Team To Danger

The Australian Olympic Committee was furious Friday night when a fire broke out in the parking lot of their building without the fire alarms going off.

Many of the teams staying in the Olympic village in Rio de Janeiro have had issues with their accommodations. There have been complaints about backed up plumbing, exposed wires, and many other issues. The Australian Olympic team had it so bad that they were forced to abandon the village, opting to stay in hotels instead.

[ Photo by Buda Mendes / Staff ]After a while, the Australian Olympic Committee and Rio 2016 came to an agreement. At that time hundreds of workers were dispatched to fix the many issues. When the work was done, the Olympic teams returned to the village and were given promises that everything was in working order.

According to US Magazine, one of those promises included a certificate that stated the Olympic village had passed an inspection that ensured it complied with fire regulations. Working alarms being part of it.

On Friday, a fire broke out in the parking lot located in the basement of the building, and the fire alarms failed to activate.

“The stairwells filled with smoke, but the fire was confined to the carpark and no one was injured,” the Australian Olympic Committee said in a statement posted to the Rio 2016 web site.

Roughly one hundred athletes and other personnel had to be evacuated from the building as the Fire Brigade got to work controlling the flames.

As it turned out, the fire was a relatively small one. Officials discerned that it was caused by someone leaving a cigarette in some garbage. The cause of the fire wound up aggravating the Australian Olympic Committee almost as much as the failed alarm system since the Olympic village is supposed to be a no smoking zone.

“The fire did seem to be accidental, probably a cigarette thrown into rubbish in the building,” Kitty Chiller, Australian Olympic Chef de Mission, said, according to Reuters. “We have asked Rio 2016 to enforce a very strict non-smoking policy. Every athletes’ village in the Olympic Games should be non-smoking so we’ve asked for that to be enforced because at the moment it’s not.”

Officials dispatched security guards and firemen to the Olympic village in order to station them throughout the Australian building as a precaution, but Chiller explained to the aforementioned publication that she did not expect the efforts to continue.

The question remained, if an inspection days earlier had revealed the fire alarms to be in working order, why didn’t they get triggered by the smoky fire that caused the building to need evacuation?

As mentioned earlier, many teams have had issues with their accommodations in the Olympic village; Australia was not the only one underwhelmed with their building. On Friday, workers had been dispatched to the building next door, occupied by Belgium and Germany, in order to complete work that needed to be done there. The workers decided the fire alarm system needed to be turned off for several hours in order for them to complete their job.

[Photo by luizsouzarj/Getty]The Australian Olympic Committee was furious to find out that the fire alarms were intentionally deactivated without anyone notifying them.

“We’ve now absolutely insisted that that fire alarm system is never deactivated again,” Chiller added, according to Reuters.

The Olympic Games kick off on August 5, but many athletes from all over the world doubt the readiness of Rio 2016 for that moment, and it’s not only about the condition of the Olympic Village.

As reported by The New York Times, any athletes involved in water-based sports have been warned that the water they’ll be swimming in might be contaminated with human waste, garbage, and dead bodies of both animal and human varieties.

[Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images]