Home fire warning following spate of ceiling fires

Published: 21st September 2009

NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Acting Commissioner John Benson said today that fires involving ceiling insulation and downlights were responsible for at least 26 fires in NSW this year.

Acting Commissioner Benson said eight of these fires had occurred in the past six weeks, with a fire involving downlights and insulation occurring as recently as last Tuesday, when a ceiling caught alight in a Seven Hills home and caused minor damage.

The NSWFB today joined with the NSW Office of Fair Trading to warn people about therisk of thermal ceiling insulation being located too close to downlights.

"NSW Fire Brigades investigators have noticed a growing number of fires involving downlights with roofing insulation as the ignition factor," Acting Commissioner Benson said.

"Thankfully no one was injured in these fires but many of them resulted in damage tohomes and placed lives at risk."

Acting Commissioner Benson said the Office of Fair Trading's consumer warning on insulation fire risks provided a timely reminder for all households to review their fire safety measures.

"I urge residents to ensure their halogen downlights and roofing insulation are properly installed and maintained," he said. "People need to be aware that fires can occur in the roof and a smoke alarm may not alert you to these fires in time to safely escape."

He said people should be mindful when having work or renovations done to their homes to ensure the ceiling insulation does not come into contact with the halogen downlights.

"Be aware of the dangers and if you have tradespeople working in your roof ask them to ensure they do not place the insulation too close to downlights or disturb the insulation while working in the roof.

"If downlights and insulation are installed correctly there is no danger but it's important for residents to check or get a professional to do it for you.

"If you smell smoke or see or hear flames call Triple Zero and ask for the Fire Brigades."