Jul 26, 2023

Retirement village fire kills older man, wife and neighbours escape

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Fellow residents are gathering around those impacted by the blaze, particularly the dead man’s wife. [Source: ABC News]

An older man has died in a fire at a Melbourne retirement village while his wife and neighbours escaped.

Just after 6am on Wednesday, Kingsgate Village residents were forced to evacuate after two units caught on fire. Police, emergency crews and Country Fire Authority units flocked to the scene and said the 78-year-old man’s wife was in shock at the news of his death.

“Our police members have been sitting very closely with her and helping her get through this.” 

Police are investigating the cause of the fire but said emergency services helped to evacuate about 40 people and that the fire was contained within an hour. No other residents suffered any injuries except for smoke inhalation and shock.

Melissa Johnstone was at the scene after the incident and said her mother Glynis Spencer and stepfather Tony Spencer lost their home in the fire.

Speaking with the media, Ms Johnstone said luckily her mum was a light sleeper and she heard some noise in the unit. She got up to go to the toilet where she found the whole bathroom on fire.

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Melissa Johnstone. [Source: The Age]

Ms Johnstone said her stepfather had dementia and was struggling to understand what had happened and her mother was also coming to terms with what had been lost in the fire.

“They’ve just walked out in their pyjamas and [with] their dog. We’ve just gone and bought [them] necessities like toothpaste, underwear.”

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