Thursday, January 23, 2014

Grandmother ordered to pay $1,000 for setting off fire alarm while boiling an egg

A grandmother from Queensland, Australia has been ordered to pay a $1,000 bill for setting off a fire alarm while boiling an egg. Fay Nielsen, 74, denied she burned any pots or caused any smoke when boiling a single egg in her Runaway Bay Retirement Village unit.

But TriCare staff told the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal that they found smoke emanating from her unit into the passageway when they arrived and saw her trying to dissipate cooking fumes and smoke.

Mrs Nielsen said she was unable to explain how boiling an egg had led to the fire alarm going off. The widow told the tribunal she had been boiling eggs the same way for the last 60 years. "I put the egg in a saucepan of water and boil it for barely five minutes,'' she said.

Mrs Nielsen had sought relief from paying the $1,020.31 bill for an unwanted fire alarm activation but, after weighing up all the evidence, the tribunal dismissed the application. Mrs Nielsen, who has eight grandchildren, is determined to fight the bill and says she will lodge an appeal and if necessary complain to an Ombudsman. "It's terribly unfair. This decision is absolutely ludicrous,'' Mrs Nielsen added.


Annemarie said...

Steam constantly sets off my fire alram, its worse in the winter when even a boiled egg or the kettle will trigger it.
Stupid thing doesnt go off when i burn the toast though.

arbroath said...

How strange, I've never heard of that happening before.

Ratz said...

arbroath: Many of the smoke alarm heads are actually particle detectors rather than heat detectors. They're supposed to pick up particles of smoke, but dust or steam can set them off in a very similar fashion.

When we're doing building work, the smoke heads are swapped for heat ones which means that though it's a bit late in going off during a fire, at least they're not going off every time someone drills a hole.

arbroath said...

Oh right.

Cheers for the info, Ratz!