Rio Olympics: Australian athletes robbed during fire evacuation at Olympic village

Rio de Janeiro's mayor Eduardo Paes, left, poses for photos with Australia's delegation head Kitty Chiller, right. Photo / AP
Rio de Janeiro's mayor Eduardo Paes, left, poses for photos with Australia's delegation head Kitty Chiller, right. Photo / AP

Two laptops and team shirts were stolen from Australia's Olympic residence during a fire evacuation.

The computers and shirts were stolen while rooms were vacant during a fire in the basement of the Australian building at the athletes' village on Friday.

"We did lose some shirts and a couple of laptops, one on the fifth floor from a cycling official and one in the office downstairs," Australian Olympic Committee spokesman Mike Tancred told AAP on Sunday.

The thefts are another headache for Australian hierarchy, who suspect the fire was caused by a cigarette tossed by a local worker into piles of rubbish in the basement.

About 100 team members were evacuated for about 30 minutes during the fire, which is when the thefts happened.

The fire alarms in the building had been deactivated without Australian officials being told and veteran shooter Warren Potent revealed he slept through the scare, not woken by door knocking or phone calls.

"Obviously that is completely unacceptable that a) the fire alarm was disabled and b) that if it had to be, that we weren't warned about that," Australian chef de mission Kitty Chiller told reporters on Saturday.

There had been "numerous people" given approval to deactivate the alarms - now there would be just one, she said.

And Australia had now elected fire wardens on each of the 18 floors of the building.

Australian hierarchy have since triple-checked the fire alarms are working again after Chiller met with Rio 2016 organisers and the International Olympic Committee.

"There was no point in laying blame or saying 'could have or should have' at that point last night," she said.

However Chiller has warned team leaders of other nations to look for potential fire hazards.

"I spoke to a couple of my colleagues, three or four other NOCs (national Olympic committees) last night, and just said 'look, check your basement, see what rubbish is still left there'," she said.

Chiller last Sunday refused to allow the Australians to take residence in their building, number 23 at the village, because of safety concerns. The team moved in three days later after hasty repairs.

"It was just 'really, of all the 31 buildings, it had to be building 23 after everything that has happened," Chiller said. "I don't think you could write that script."

- news.com.au

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