War on winter fires

Claremont fire station officer Brian Hill with powerboards that have caused fires in homes.  Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au   d440213
War on winter fires
Claremont fire station officer Brian Hill with powerboards that have caused fires in homes. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d440213

�What we do see is a lot of drying clothes catching on fire because they are too close to heaters, or bed clothes catch alight when a heater has been put too near a bed on a cold night,� Claremont fire station officer Brian Hill said.

A hair dryer that was accidentally switched on and left unattended, causing a $1.2 million Peppermint Grove house fire last month, demonstrated how electrical appliances and heaters not used in summer were a potential danger in the cooler months.

�Most house fires are accidental and preventable and we want people to be as cautious inside at this time of year as they would be outside with open fires in summer,� Mr Hill said.

Firefighters could be called out up to once a day to fires which could be prevented at homes.

Other than clothes drying near heaters, other indoor dangers were unsupervised open fireplaces without fireguards or clean chimneys, wheatbags for muscle pain being overheated in microwave ovens and tea towels left on ovens.

�Open flame candles are an absolute no-no if you may be falling asleep, and if you want to burn incense use an electric fragrance burner,� Mr Hill said.

All homes should have fire alarms, which should be replaced every 10 years and their batteries tested each month before being replaced on April 1.

n Police said the cause of a fire at a Salisbury Street, Cottesloe house about 8.20pm last Thursday was undetermined. A woman in the home was treated for smoke inhalation at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.