Aug 01, 2016

    Head of Aussie delegation fumes over 'cigarette' fire


    THE Australian Olympic Committee has demanded

    Rio 2016 organisers enforce a ban on smoking in the athletes' village after saying a fire in the basement of their building was probably caused by a cigarette tossed into rubbish.

    Delegation head

    Kitty Chiller said it was also "completely unacceptable" that a previously tested fire alarm system had been switched off at the time without the Australians being informed.

    The incident, which filled the stairwells with smoke on Friday evening, came after

    the Australians and several other teams had complained about unfinished and dirty rooms before moving in.

    "The fire did seem to be accidental, probably a cigarette thrown into

    rubbish in the building,"

    Ms Chiller said at a news conference on Saturday.

    "We have asked Rio 2016 to enforce a very strict non-smoking policy.

    "Every athletes' village in the Olympic Games should be non-smoking so we've asked for that to be enforced because at the moment it's not."

    Firemen were stationed

    on every floor, with security guards in the basement, as a precaution after the scare.

    But Ms Chiller said such measures would not continue.

    The delegation head added she had spoken to several other national committees warning them to check basements for refuse,

    and the matter would be raised at a meeting of team chiefs on Sunday.

    The Australians had complained last weekend about exposed wiring and blocked toilets, saying accommodation in the village was "not safe

    or ready" for the Games, which open on Friday.

    Organisers then deployed

    a task force of 600 workers

    to tackle repairs.