Nursing home employee charged with murder in Australia fire

Firemen pass abandoned wheel chairs and hospital beds after a fire engulfed a nursing homes for the elderly, killing at least three and seriously injuring eight, near Sydney on November 18.

Story highlights

  • A 35-year-old nurse is charged with four counts of murder, police say
  • The fire broke out Friday in a nursing home
  • The blaze destroyed 20% of the facility
Australian authorities charged a nurse with four counts of murder Saturday after a fire at a nursing home Friday left four people dead and more than 30 others injured.
The 35-year-old man, who is an employee at the nursing home, was not identified by New South Wales police.
The fire broke out about 5 a.m. Friday, roaring through the suburban Sydney facility and destroying about 20% of the building.
Nearly 90 people were inside at the time of the fire. Three people died in the blaze and 32 others were transported to hospitals, 15 of whom were admitted to intensive care units, where one later died, according to police.
CNN Sydney affiliate Nine News showed video footage of residents in hospital beds being cared for on sidewalks.
The fire began in two rooms, destroyed beds and traveled via the roof, said New South Wales Fire Chief Greg Mullins.
"Upon arrival, smoke was so thick you couldn't see your hand in front of your face," Mullins said.
Police said Saturday that due to the intensity of the fire, authorities remained unable to gain complete access to the scene.