One dead in Sydney pension fire | Keeper Cowra

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One person has died and a man is fighting for life after a fire at a boarding house in Sydney’s mid-west.

Police were called to the fire around 1am Tuesday at the Newtown guesthouse.

A body was found in the building and has not yet been formally identified.

Eight residents fled the intense fire, three of whom were taken to hospital, including an octogenarian in critical condition.

Seven paramedics were dispatched to the scene of the blaze, with paramedic Braden Robinson saying there were serious concerns for the welfare of residents. Several are missing.

“We treated a number of patients for various injuries including burns and smoke inhalation, three of which required hospitalization,” he said.

St Vincent de Paul Society NSW chief executive Jack de Groot said it was “a deeply sad event”, adding that a boarding house was “a place of last resort”.

“A person living in a boarding house experiences a form of homelessness,” he said.

There were not enough places available for people in need of affordable housing and some pensions were inadequate.

“Residents will likely struggle to find a new place to stay and that’s not good,” Mr de Groot said.

“As a community, we need to do more to protect our most vulnerable.”

There are 50,000 applicants – representing more than 100,000 people – on the waiting list for social housing in NSW and many more are in need of affordable housing.

The police are trying to establish the fate of all the residents of the building.

A number of nearby properties were also evacuated, with no other injuries reported.

Australian Associated Press

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