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Smoke detector overhaul needed for rentals

03 September 2014 Staff Reporter

A Victorian coroner has said an overhaul of smoke detector laws is needed after a fatal house fire.

Coroner Peter White has called for all rental properties to be fitted with a hard-wired smoke detector, after three international students died in a Melbourne house fire.

Mr White has recommended a change to Victorian laws to ensure every floor of a rental property be fitted with a hard-wired smoke alarm with a 10-year, tamper-proof, battery back-up.

The coroner made the recommendations in his findings into the deaths of 32 year-old Deepak Kumar Prajapati, 24 year-old Sunil Ramanlal Patel, and 24 year-old Jignesh Kumar Ghanshyamdas Sadhu.


The three men died in an electrical fire at a Footscray house in January 2008.

The coroner said he could not determine, on the evidence, if there was a smoke detector in the house, but said the surviving occupants told the court they did not know what one looked like.

Mr White recommended laws be changed to clarify who was responsible for the testing and maintenance of smoke detectors, and to ensure they were inspected annually.

He also recommended every rental property received information on what a smoke detector did, how tenants could test them, and what they should do if it went off.

Smoke detector overhaul needed for rentals
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