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Australian Olympic team robbed after fire in athletes’ village; fire alarms deactivated

The Olympic Village stands in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 23, 2016. The brand new complex of residential towers are where nearly 11,000 athletes and some 6,000 coaches and other handlers will sleep, eat and train during the upcoming games, that will kickoff on Aug. 5.
The Olympic Village stands in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 23, 2016. The brand new complex of residential towers are where nearly 11,000 athletes and some 6,000 coaches and other handlers will sleep, eat and train during the upcoming games, that will kickoff on Aug. 5. AP Photo/Leo Correa

Members of the Australian Olympic team were robbed during a fire evacuation at the Rio Olympic Village, in the latest of a series of complaints about the athletes’ housing complex.

The Australian building was evacuated Friday after a fire in the basement, which was likely started by a cigarette, Australian Associated Press reports.

The evacuation of around 100 people lasted about 30 minutes while the fire was dealt with, AAP says.

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A spokesperson for the Australian Olympic Committee said two laptops and some clothing were taken during that time.

But athletes are less concerned about the theft, and more concerned about the lack of fire alarms; people were notified about the blaze by word of mouth.

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Warren Potent, a veteran shooter, apparently slept through the entire ordeal according to AAP, because he didn’t wake up when someone knocked on his door.

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“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 News.com.au.

The team now has fire wardens for each floor in the 18-storey building, and Chiller is warning other countries to be wary.

“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.

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READ MORE: Power, plumbing fears plague Athletes Village in Rio

Last week, Chiller kept all 700 Australian athletes and staff out of the Athletes Village for at least two days, citing electrical and plumbing problems in the sprawling complex.

“I have never experienced a village in this state – or lack of state – of readiness at this point in time,” she said at the time.

Rio Olympic organizers say the water and gas leaks, blocked toilets, and electrical faults may have been caused by isolated cases of sabotage.

The Athlete’s Village is a sprawling complex of 31 buildings that is supposed to house all 18,000 athletes and staff from around the world during the summer Olympics.

With files from the Associated Press.

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