Tragedy renews smoke alarm focus

BY LAW all dwellings must be fitted with smoke alarms and a tragedy at the weekend is a reminder of why this legislation was implemented.

A smoke detector may have made all the difference to a man who was found dead in his home at Lime Tree Village on Sunday morning.

Police and fire fighters found the 62-year-old man at 10.20am after smoke was reportedly seen coming from the premise.

While there was no blaze, extensive heat and smoke damage indicated that the fire may have started as early as Friday in the lounge room of the man's home.

The deceased's family had been advised and they were travelling from Queensland yesterday.

Under the legislation, which was revised last year to include motor homes and boats, smoke alarms are mandatory in all new buildings and the onus is on the owner to fit older homes with smoke detectors.

Lime Tree Village staffer Denise Ward described the incident as a 'terrible tragedy' and said that all properties were owned by their occupants.

"All new buildings are automatically fitted but for older buildings it is up to the owner and I believe that this particular premise was more than 17 years old," Ms Ward said. "We hear so much about the need to have them in our homes but think it will never happen to us."

Senior station commander of Coffs Harbour fire station, Mark Rose, said they were regularly called to Lime Tree Village to inspect alarms and replace batteries.

"This is a free service offered to the elderly called SABRE and allows us to ensure smoke alarms are installed and working properly," Mr Rose said.

"We can't stress enough the importance of having them and while the majority of homes are fitted we need to push for 100%.

"They may save your life by alerting you or your neighbours to the presence of smoke."

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