'Metre from the heater': Firies issue warning during cold snap

Wednesday morning's fire at a Hamilton Street home in Fairfield was caused by a heater.

It's not the first one Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) have attended this winter - or even this week - and they are urging the community to ensure they keep themselves and their families safe at home as a cold snap sweeps across Sydney.

Two people inside the single level cladding Fairfield home were evacuated and transported by ambulance to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation and there was significant damage to the home from the fire.

FRNSW Superintendent Michael Jay said they have attended several house fires over the last week that have occurred because of furniture and other items being left too close to heaters as people try to keep warm.

Fire damage: The home on Hamilton Road. Picture: Chris Lane

Fire damage: The home on Hamilton Road. Picture: Chris Lane

"As temperatures decrease, we see more deadly house fires occur, with fires often starting due to fireplaces, heaters and electric blankets in bedrooms and loungerooms," he said.

"FRNSW are reminding people to be cautious when using heaters and ensure everything is kept at least a metre from the heater, including blankets and furniture.

"Please don't put yourself or your family at risk. Check that all appliances are switched off and ensure open flames have been fully extinguished before leaving the house or going to bed. Remember, the law requires all homes to have a working smoke alarm."

The warning takes on extra significance with the lower temperatures to continue until the weekend.

Bureau of Meteorology Manager, Region East, Jane Golding said the cold conditions are the result of a strong cold front that moved through at the start of the week.

"Temperatures are expected to be well below average for many parts of the state as we continue towards the weekend. For some areas that will mean temperatures are four to eight degrees below average," she said.

Winter fire safety tips

  • Never ever leave cooking unattended.
  • Only working smoke alarms save lives - test your smoke alarm today.
  • Keep everything one metre away from your heater.
  • Do not overload your power boards with extra appliances like heaters and electric blankets.
  • Ensure flues and chimneys are regularly cleaned.
  • Strong fire screens should be set up in front of open fires.
  • Turn off your electric blanket at night.
  • Do not use outdoor heating and cooking equipment inside your home. The use of this type of equipment indoors could lead to the build-up of carbon monoxide which could be fatal.

Details:  fire.nsw.gov.au .

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