Tonny Bergqvist CEO of Ecohousing is speaking from Malaysia, where he is coordinating the supply of 5000 homes in to the region, Mr Bergqvist watched in  dismay as the events unfolded in Nauru at the time of the fires and expressed his view on the detention centre fires  which he said were 100% avoidable if only the Australian Government did not keep repeating the mistake of allowing the building of detention centres with highly flammable Polystyrene cored building panels and commented the following on the fires-

The Nauru Detention Centre Fires on Sunday July 21st 2013 highlights the Australian Authorities inability to come to grips with the need to build Detention Centre Accommodation Buildings that cannot readily be set on fire by simply using Cigarette lighters to light the highly flammable Expanded Polystyrene “EPS” building  panels these buildings are made from.

In this case at Nauru the inmates of the centre were refugee boat people, they did not have access to the amount of fuel it would take to cause this amount of damage had the buildings been made of normal building materials, The inmates made sure to evacuate all the buildings prior to lighting the fires, otherwise the death toll would have been catastrophic, they were well aware that the fuel was lodged in the building panels themselves and they only had to use cigarette lighters to ignite this fuel i.e. the Polystyrene Core.

This same procedure have been used in Detention Centres for  a decade now  starting with the numerous fires in 2003  where 5 detention Centres were set alight over Christmas 2003, most burning simultaneous as the inmates of the various camps – Baxter in South Australia on December 27th 2003 quickly followed by Port Headland – Woomera – Christmas Island  – and Villawood in Sydney, the various detention centre camp inmates simply called each other on mobile phones with instructions on how to tear the metal sheeting of the panels in a corner of the panels (you can do this with your bare hands) then simply setting the Polystyrene alight with a cigarette lighter.

More Fires followed again at the Baxter facility on November 2005 –Villawood Sydney again on April 20th 2011 – Darwin August 31st 2011, I may have missed some however it is mind boggling that The Australian Government again allowed a detention centre to be build using exactly the same fire hazardous Polystyrene materials that burnt down the numerous detention centres as recorded here, when Authorities would have known quite well why they were so easy to destroy.

The cost to the Australians Tax Payers runs into Billions of Dollars.
So what begs the Question is:

  1. Why did the Australian  Government allow these hazardous Polystyrene building products to be used on a Government project in Nauru in 2013 ?.
  2. It was reported that Insurance was paid out on the Fire in Nauru, when it is a well-known fact that Insurance companies refuse to pay out on Polystyrene insulated commercial d buildings. This has been the case for a number of years now resulting in major manufacturers of Cold-rooms  having been forced to cease manufacturing Cold-rooms with Polystyrene cores and having to use the far more expensive  Fire safe product of PIR Polyurethane as the core.
  3. What building materials are to be used for the re-building of the Nauru detention centre camps this time, materials that will not burn or the same Polystyrene building panels as usual, with no regard for the subsequent cost of rebuilding the camps when they are burnt down again ?.

Tonny Bergqvist
CEO Ecohousing.