19 Nov 2011

Nurse charged with murder as Sydney fire toll rises

2:38 pm on 19 November 2011

A registered nurse has appeared in court on four charges of murder after a fatal fire at a nursing home in west Sydney.

Roger Dean, 35, appeared via video link before magistrate Andrew George at Parramatta Local Court on Saturday morning.

He said nothing during the court appearance; bail was refused.

The accused will appear again in Central Local Court on Thursday.

Three elderly residents died in the blaze on Friday morning and another died late Friday afternoon in hospital.

Police said a fifth person died in hospital on Saturday.

A total of 32 people were taken to hospital, with 15 admitted to intensive care units at Royal North Shore and Concord hospitals, the ABC reports.

Emergency services were called to the Quakers Hill building at 4.53am (AEDT) on Friday.

The police have been treating the incident as suspicious since they first began investigating.

Police say the accused is a registered nurse, who worked at the home for a short time.

The ABC reports he appeared at the scene on Friday and told media he was involved in the rescue.

It is believed there were two separate ignition points at the nursing home, but investigations have been hampered by the unstable condition of the building.