Australian Athletes Evacuate Olympic Village After Fire, Alarms Didn’t Go Off


Another safety issue. About 100 Australian Olympic team members were forced to evacuate their residences in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, July 29, after a small fire broke out in a basement parking area, the Associated Press reports. They returned to their room after 30 minutes.

"The stairwells filled with smoke, but the fire was confined to the car park and no one was injured," Australian team spokesman Mike Tancred said in a statement.

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The fire was reportedly caused by a cigarette left in a bin. The Olympic Village is a nonsmoking site. According to ABC, the team received a certificate two days before that saying that the building complied with fire regulations.

Australian team manager Kitty Chiller plans to meet with Olympic officials over the incident. "What we have subsequently found is that the fire alarms had been silenced while they were carrying out maintenance on the building next door to ours,” she told ABC. "We hadn't been advised that the fire alarms were silenced, so how we found out was basically smoke in the corridors and stairwells. It's absolutely not satisfactory at all."

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"There's a lot of rubbish around the place, which a lot of countries have been talking about for the last few days, left from contractors, left from workers," she continued. ”We've asked for a reminder to go out to all staff and contractors that there is no smoking.”

The Australian athletes have had problems with the Olympic Village before. Earlier this week, the team refused to stay in their rooms because of bad living conditions such as blocked toilets and no lighting. They stayed in nearby hotels instead, but appeared to recently make amends with Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes.

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Other problems have surrounded the Olympic Games. Some athletes across the board have pulled out over the Zika virus. Additionally, environmentalists told The New York Times that a bay nearby is literally filled with “human crap" and dead human and animal bodies. The bacteria can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

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