Nurse charged with murder in seniors’ home fire
SYDNEY • A male nurse was charged Friday with multiple counts of murder after a fierce fire tore through the Sydney nursing home where he worked and as the death toll from the tragedy climbed to five, police said.
The 35-year-old, who had not worked long at the home, was refused bail and was due to face court later in the day.
Hundreds of firefighters, police and paramedics raced to the Quakers Hill Nursing Home in the city’s west to tackle the blaze on Thursday.
Three elderly residents were declared dead at the scene, a fourth died overnight and a fifth Friday, po- lice said. Around 30 others remain in hospital, some in serious condition with severe burns.
Police had been treating the incident as suspicious after it emerged that the fire was believed to have broken out in two separate wings of the facility.
Superintendent Michael Willing, who is leading the case, said police acted on information they received after making an appeal.
Willing added that the suspect, who was a registered nurse, had only been working at the home for a short time, but he would not comment on the motive or give any other information about him.
Firefighters and police evacuated nearly 90 disorientated and frail people, some blind or suffering dementia, as their home burned down.
Reports said a rear ward was cut off when a fire door closed to stop the flames spreading, and this was where the first three victims died, most likely from smoke inhalation.
Willing said it had been a harrowing experience for everyone concerned. “Everyone has been affected by this tragic set of circumstances,” he said.