DON'T LET IT BE A LUCKY ESCAPE
posted on Monday, November 12, 2007 02:14 PM
On the afternoon of Thursday, 22nd June 2000 I left the backpackers' hostel in Childers, Queensland, Australia and headed south aboard a bus for Brisbane. I'd spent the previous three nights in Childers, sleeping in the ground floor dormitory and a small room on the first floor.
I awoke in Brisbane Friday morning to 5 missed calls on my phone and a frantic voicemail message informing me that the Childers hostel had burnt down in the early hours, killing 15 backpackers. Within a matter of hours the small, quiet, one-street town and non-descript hostel that had felt such a world away from home was now international news.
The Hostel had been refused a fire safety permit 17 months prior, and the fire alarm system had been turned off. Escape routes had been blocked by beds and there were bars on windows.
Look after your own safety. Always know your fire escape, and always let someone know where you are (someone who cares).
Download the fire safety guide from gapyear.com »
BBC NEWS - Hostel fire victims remembered