Nollamara: couple who lost everything in house fire warn others to be vigilant about safety

 Andrew Wilkinson in his destroyed Nollamara home. Picture: DFES
Andrew Wilkinson in his destroyed Nollamara home. Picture: DFES

A NOLLAMARA couple whose two-storey home went up in flames just two weeks ago is urging people to be proactive about fire safety.

Andrew Wilkinson woke at midnight on May 16 to the smell of smoke, which he initially wrote off as a burn-off.

As he came down the stairs, he saw the bottom floor ablaze then raced back upstairs to wake his partner, and they both went back downstairs.

“(My partner) went into the kitchen, he pushed the laundry door open and saw the flames come out at him,” Mr Wilkinson said.

“The fire was right below our walk-in robe and given we have wooden floors and ceiling, that could have been quite catastrophic.”

The pair ran from the house and to the meter box and shut the power down.

“We were very lucky to escape; we have literally lost everything due to smoke damage,” Mr Wilkinson said.

“We have our cars, ourselves, a pair of tracksuit pants each and a jumper each.”

The melted air-conditioner in the home. Picture: DFES

The fire was believed to have been started by the dryer, by either the contents inside or the basket on top.

“Make sure to take out everything of dryer, leave it clear,” he said.

“I don’t want anyone to experience what we’ve gone through.”

Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) urged people keep their home safe ahead of winter.

DFES fire investigation and analysis unit district officer Andy Duckworth said fire could engulf homes in a matter of minutes, putting families and pets in grave danger.

“Don’t leave cooking or candles unattended, always clean the lint filter in your dryer and make sure you keep all materials at least one metre away from heaters and wood fireplaces,” he said.

“It is important to clean and maintain your smoke alarm once a month, replace the batteries once a year and replace the device every 10 years; it could give you a few extra minutes to get out of your home safely if a fire starts.”

He said it was essential to have a home fire escape plan.

Last year between June and August, four people were killed and another 28 injured in house fires in WA.

Crews battled 223 accidental house fires across the state during the same time.

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