Elderly evacuated after aged-care blaze

Residents evacuated from a Woonona retirement village when fire broke out in the building yesterday were moved to other accommodation overnight.

The fire was reported about 3.30pm at IRT Woonona Flametree Lodge - home to 99 elderly residents, including more than 30 dementia patients.

Police, fire and ambulance paramedic crews assisted staff in evacuating residents.

The fire, in the building's air-conditioning duct, was extinguished, however the building suffered extensive water damage from the automatic sprinkler system on levels two and three.

IRT chief executive Nieves Murray said all residents were safe and well; 46 of them would need to be re-housed on site or at other care centres within IRT's operational area, including IRT Towradgi Park and IRT Links Seaside.

"Some of those [displaced] residents will only be in new accommodation overnight while power is restored and systems are checked," Mrs Murray said.

"Others may require longer-term accommodation due to smoke and water damage."

Late yesterday, fire crews were carrying out salvage and ventilation work.

Mrs Murray said "the quick actions of staff" ensured nobody was in danger, and fire-prevention systems - such as alarms, sprinklers and smoke doors - minimised the impact of the event.

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