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'A firefighter's worst nightmare': 4 patients die in Australian nursing home blaze

Warren Clarke / EPA

Elderly residents are placed into ambulances after a fire at Quakers Hill Nursing Home in Sydney, Australia, on November 18.

Warren Clarke / EPA

A resident is evacuated to a triage set up at the local church after a fire at Quakers Hill Nursing Home on November 18.

Daniel Munoz / Reuters

Police officers work in front of Quakers Hill Nursing Home on November 18.

The AP reports from SYDNEY:

Two fires raced through a Sydney nursing home Friday, killing four elderly people and critically injuring 14 as firefighters crawled through blinding smoke to rescue victims. Police were investigating whether it was arson.

The fires broke out in separate parts of the complex, and homicide detectives were looking into whether they were deliberately set, a police statement said. Fire Assistant Commissioner Jim Smith said sniffer dogs would search the ruins for traces of gasoline.

A total of 88 patients were evacuated from the single-story building in suburban Quakers Hill as firefighters searched rooms on their hands and knees for patients, many of them bedridden and suffering from dementia, Fire Commissioner Greg Mullins said.

"This is a firefighter's worst nightmare," Mullins said. "Turning up to a nursing home with elderly people who can't get themselves out of harm's way." Read the full story.