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Spate of house fires prompts safety warning

Published: 6th August 2013

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) firefighters are warning residents to take their fire safety seriously after a spate of house fires injured 21 people across the state in the past 24 hours.

Twelve residential fires occurred in the past 24 hours causing 21 injuries and hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

At Tweed Heads overnight, a man was injured when a fire broke out in a bedroom. Four children also suffered smoke inhalation during the blaze.

At Liverpool, one man suffered burns and another six people were treated for smoke inhalation after a unit fire.

And, at Bexley, one adult and a child were taken to hospital with smoke inhalation after a unit fire.

"Winter is the worst time of year for house fires and we have seen this in the last 24 hours with five unit fires and seven house fires – two of these were at Lake Macquarie, eight were in the Sydney metropolitan area, and five in regional NSW," said FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins.

"The injuries sustained in these fires serve as a reminder for people to take action now to reduce their chances of becoming fire victims.

"More than 60 per cent of home fire deaths occur during the cooler months of May to September.

"New FRNSW figures show that since January there have been 964 kitchen fires or 62 per cent of all residential fires. A third of these, or 341, were the result of cooking catching alight.

"The peak time of day for home fires is between 5pm and 7pm. Between May and July this year, 718 house fires were reported in the hour after 5pm and 692 after 6pm.

"Don’t leave home fire safety to chance. The best way to keep your family out of harm's way and identify potential risks is by doing a FRNSW/GIO online home fire safety audit and making sure you have working smoke alarms and a practised home escape plan."

People can greatly reduce their risk of fire by identifying and changing risky behaviour and habits, including:

  • Turning off heaters before going to sleep
  • Keeping clothing and other flammable materials at least 1m from heaters and open fires
  • Turning off electric blankets before going to sleep
  • Not overloading power points and power boards
  • Not leaving cooking, and other open-flame materials such as cigarettes and candles, unattended.

To help identify potential risks in the home everybody is encouraged do a free FRNSW/GIO online home fire safety audit at www.homefiresafetyaudit.com.au

Incidents

13:46 5/8: House fire at Mary St, Northmead. Cooking alight on the stove.
14:54 5/8: House fire at Dewrang St, Cardiff Heights. Electrical fire.
15:18 5/8: House fire Ryrie Ave, Cromer. Bedroom fire. 1 male treated for smoke inhalation.
17:29 5/8: Unit fire Queen Victoria St, Bexley. Cooking fire. 1 child and 1 adult taken to hospital with smoke inhalation.
18:03 5/8: Unit fire Boyd St, Tweed Heads. Fire on stove. 1 man and 2 children transported to hospital by paramedics.
18:25 5/8: Unit fire Merlin St, Neutral Bay
18:55 5/8: House fire at Howard St, Peak Hill. Combustion heater fire spread to roof.
19:32 5/8: Unit fire Doncaster Ave, Kensington. Cooking fire.
00:05 6/8: House fire Lake Rd, Balcolyn. 1 person taken to hospital and 2 others treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
02:24 6/8: Unit fire Carboni St, Liverpool. 1 person was burned trying to extinguish the fire and another six were injured.
02:27 6/8: House fire Lalina Ave, Tweed Heads. 1 male received burns and cuts from bedroom fire. 4 children treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation.
03:52 6/8: House fire Fraser St, Narrabri. Roof fire.