The Department of Fire and Emergency Services metropolitan superintendent Craig Waters said most house fires were preventable and warned householders to take care.
He said common causes of house fires this winter included leaving cooking unattended and heaters being too close to clothing, furniture or other combustibles.
Supt Waters said another cause of house fires had been children playing with fire and ignition devices, including a few incidents involving children under five years old.
‘Simple ways to prevent fires are to keep all objects at least one metre from the heater, supervise children around any ignition devices or heaters, and never leave cooking unattended,’ he said.
‘Children are naturally curious about fire and what takes everyone by surprise, and not only children, is how unpredictable fires can be and how fast they can spread.
‘Winter may now be over but we know the weather can still be cool in September and we are urging everyone to be careful around open flames or when heating their homes.’
Supt Waters said a working smoke alarm was vital to survival in a house fire, and although smoke alarms had already saved several people this winter, there were still frequent incidents when an alarm was not working.
‘Smoke alarms have a limited life span, so it is important to change the whole unit, regardless of the power source, at least every 10 years,’ Supt Water said.