At least four people have been reported injured after a fire at a Dunedin flat where the band Six60 was formed.
According to a report by Radio New Zealand, fire trucks were sent to 660 Castle Street after multiple calls were made before 7am.
East Otago area Fire Service commander Laurence Voight said that a total of four people inside the flat escaped from the top floor windows and a downstairs window. One person received serious burns and severe cuts from broken glass.
“He’s got himself on to what he thought was ledge, that wasn’t, and dropped to the ground and he’s got a fairly bad injury to his ankle,” Mr Voight told reporters.
A firefighter was also injured, and is being treated for a knee injury.
Earlier this year, a reportedly overloaded balcony collapsed at a student complex in Castle Street during a concert by the band. At least 18 people were injured.
Mr Voight said that new smoke alarms were installed in the house’s landlord in January. Two of these, however, had been removed and found in cupboards–the tenants reportedly uninstalled them because they were tired of them always going off.
“I’d call it an act of stupidity, because you are not going to be saved by a smoke alarm that isn’t on the wall where it should be,” said Mr Voight. “This is a lesson to anyone else who’s made a short-sighted decision to take theirs down. Working smoke alarms would have given them more warning and more time to escape.”
Oliver Thode, one of the house’s tenants, was spared of injuries because he was staying across the road when the incident happened. He said that he visited his flatmates in the hospital, and that one of them was about to undergo surgery.
“I’m just a bit shocked – how do you feel after a fire?” he told reporters. “He jumped out of a window to get out and so he broke his ankle.”
“Everyone was asleep when it started I think,” he added.
Six60 vocalist Matiu Walters expressed sadness over what happened to the flat. “The band and I have great memories in Dunedin and that flat… my thoughts are with the people who were injured,” he told One News.
It is not yet known exactly what caused the fire. Investigations are ongoing.