Sunday 14th August, 2016. 3.23am.
A fire broke out at the Oakleaf Retreat and Rehabilitation Facility in the early hours of this morning, claiming the lives of at least 24 patients and staff, and leaving one woman in critical condition.
According to Fire and Rescue Victoria Superintendent Joseph Farraci, the blaze began in one of the higher security rooms in the new Braidleigh wing of the building at approximately 2.15am.
Most of the inpatients and staff were not at the premises at the time of the tragedy, due to a special ‘weekend visit’ to a neighbouring vineyard and farm planned by Oakleaf’s current benefactor and head of staff, Doctor Claudia Monére. Of those who remained within the grounds, only three were able to be rescued from the inferno…Head Nurse Janet Brown – currently on life support at the Alfred Hospital, Doctor Claudia Monére and billionaire playboy Jasper Baelian Black – both suffering from smoke inhalation and minor cuts and bruises, but relatively and miraculously unharmed. 24 others have yet to be accounted for.
It is still unclear what caused the fire, arson investigation is currently underway, but police are keeping tight-lipped about the situation. However, sources say that much of the secrecy is due to the identity and the nature of the missing patients – many of whom come from some of the wealthiest families in the country.
“There were people in there that the families had effectively thrown away and forgotten about…victims of parental child abuse, illegitimate heirs…they were never meant to see the light of day…” one woman, who asked not to be identified, told reporters.
Superintendent Farraci, however, dismissed the claims, saying that such suggestions were ‘heartless’ and ‘sensationalist.’
“This is a tragedy, not only for those who have lost a family member or loved one, but also for the Australian medical and science professions. Many researchers made this their base of operations…it’s a truly great loss…and it’s sickening that anyone would try and suggest that it was anything other than a tragic accident…”
The Oakleaf Retreat has been serving the needs of the community since it’s inception in the early 1950’s. Originally a psychiatric institution under the name of Braidleigh, it was renovated and remodelled in early 2001 as a drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic for society’s upper crust, with the new mental health wing added in late 2012.
More news as it develops.
All characters and story lines remain the property of N.Ristovski and the Underground. All character writings within the Underground are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Copyright © 2016. Natalie Ristovski.