Fire brigade patrols Australian Olympic residence

  • 31/07/2016
Rio Olympics (File)
Rio Olympics (File)

Fire brigade staff patrolled the hallways of Australia's official Olympic accommodation in Rio overnight after a fire broke out in the basement while alarms were deactivated.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has demanded Rio 2016 organisers test fire safety equipment today, and remove piles of rubbish from the basement by 3pm (local time).

"We had a fire brigade representative on every floor last night so we could sleep easy," AOC spokesperson Mike Tancred told AAP.

It is believed the small fire was caused by a worker discarding a cigarette, despite a village-wide smoking ban.

The Australian team had not been informed the fire alarms and sprinklers were turned off, and smoke filled the stairwells as officials were forced to go door-to-door to effect an evacuation.

"We instigated our own emergency response plan yesterday and it all worked well - not that you ever want to instigate your own emergency response plan," Mr Tancred said.

"Every time someone moves in, all the rubbish tends to go to the basement and then they bring in a truck and take it away. But we don't want any lying around."

While describing the incident as an unfortunate accident, Mr Tancred said the AOC is generally comfortable with the state of the building.

The fire comes after team boss Kitty Chiller refused to allow Australian athletes to take residence in the village on schedule because of safety concerns, citing exposed wiring, leaking pipes and blocked toilets.

After emergency repairs, the Australians moved in four days later.

Ms Chiller had also earlier raised concerns about widespread litter in the village, and that local contractors and workers had been smoking in the non-smoking venue.