Police officers injured as apartment explodes in flames

THE burns to the 64-year-old man who doused his Coffs Harbour apartment in fuel and set it alight are less extensive than first feared.

Coffs Clarence Police addressed the media at Grafton this afternoon where it was confirmed the man suffered burns to less than 10% of his body.

He is in Sydney Royal North Shore Hospital in a serious, but stable condition.

Coffs Clarence Commander Superintendent Mark Holahan said in addition two police officers, a male officer aged 32 and a female aged 23, were treated for minor burns and abrasions and have been released.

Supt Holahan said it was lucky the two officers exposed to the blast were able to shelter behind some concrete pillars.

"That absorbed most of the blast for them, so that's a very lucky outcome," Supt Holahan said.

A police critical incident team, led by Mid North Coast police, is looking into the causes of the explosion and fire.

Supt Holahan said the units surrounding the apartment were vacant.

"After the fire and rescue people cleared the apartment, they then said the building was still safe. There was no-one in the immediate vicinity of the apartment," he said.

He said police were called to an address in Orlando St, Coffs Harbour on Sunday at 7pm where a man had barricaded himself in a unit.

After about 30 minutes the unit exploded injuring the male occupant and the two officers.

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Anyone who can assist police should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


MONDAY, 7AM: A MAN who doused a Coffs Harbour apartment in fuel and set it alight on Sunday night has been airlifted to a Sydney Hospital suffering serious burns. 

Two police officers injured during the incident off Orlando St suffered cuts from glass after the windows to the unit blew out.

It is understood police had been called to the location on Sunday around 7pm after a 'concern for welfare' 000 call. 

The man lit a fire inside the apartment as police approached the door and the officers were struck by glass shards as the windows exploded.

The man was treated at Coffs Harbour Hospital overnight before being airlifted to Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital where he is this morning undergoing treatment in the burns ward. 

Forensic officers have examined the scene and Fire and Rescue NSW crews remain on scene. 

Mid North Coast police are investigating the apartment fire as a critical incident. 


SUNDAY, 10PM: POLICE say a critical incident investigation has been launched following an explosion in Coffs Harbour on Sunday night, which resulted in two police officers and a member of the public sustaining injuries.

Police said officers were called to a building on Orlando Street around 7pm.

Shortly after the officers arrived on scene, something within the building exploded, police said.

A man, 64, was taken by NSW Ambulance paramedics to Coffs Harbour Hospital for treatment.

A male police officer, 32, and a female officer, 23, were also taken to hospital with minor injuries.

A critical incident team from the Mid North Coast Local Area Command will now investigate all circumstances surrounding the incident, including the cause of the explosion.

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Anyone who can assist police should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


TWO police officers were injured as an apartment burst into flames tonight  at the Coffs Harbour Jetty.

Police were called to the Pacific Marina Luxury Apartments on Orlando St around 7pm.

Residents in the complex reported hearing an explosion in the building, a short time later. 

Police media said the apartment caught fire while a male resident was located inside. 

A male, 64, reportedly suffered burns to his face and body.

Two officers sustained minor injuries, police said. 

Fire crews have spent almost two hours extinguishing the blaze and gathering evidence for the police investigation. 

The resident and two police officers were taken by ambulance to Coffs Harbour hospital for treatment.

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