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Fireplace safety a hot topic
CFA is warning residents in the Bass Coast area about the dangers of fireplaces after a spate of house fires this winter.
CFA Bass Coast Group Officer Damien O’Connor said since the start of June, there have been seven house fires in the Bass Coast Shire which were related to the fireplace.
“This includes all different types of fireplaces such as wood heaters and open fireplaces,” he said.
“This is a significant increase from this time last year where we only had one fire caused by a fireplace in the Bass Coast area.
“Residents should be getting their chimneys cleaned annually and should be careful with what they put into the fireplace – particularly if it’s an open fireplace.”
In just the last month, there were two serious incidents in Wonthaggi caused by fireplaces.
Wonthaggi CFA was called to structure fire in Fahey Street on 20 July where firefighters found an open fireplace had been overfilled and hadn’t been maintained.
“Often people pack too much wood in a fireplace and throw random bits of rubbish in like plastic which can be a toxic combination,” Mr O’Connor said.
On 5 August, a woman received severe burns when a spark from her wood heater landed on her skirt and caught fire.
“In this instance, the woman was extremely unlucky but often people leave their clothes to dry right next to their fireplace or heater which is very dangerous,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Most fireplace related fires are avoidable by following a few simple safety rules.”
Fireplace safety check list:
- Clean chimneys and flues every year
- Always place a screen in front of an open fire
- Keep clothing at least one metre away from fireplaces
- Never let a fire burn after you’ve gone to bed or left the house
- Ensure ashes are cold before discarding
- Never leave children unattended around fireplaces
- Make sure you have working smoke alarms and change the batteries every year
For more information, or to download a home fire safety checklist, people can visit www.homefiresafety.com.au