House fires: Winter is peak time for house fires

PEAK SEASON: Things can deteriorate in just three minutes during a house fire, Fire and Rescue NSW Inspector says. Photo: FILE
PEAK SEASON: Things can deteriorate in just three minutes during a house fire, Fire and Rescue NSW Inspector says. Photo: FILE

WITH 25 homes damaged or destroyed by fire so far this winter, firefighters are urging people to take care in the final week of the season.

Winter is peak time for house fires and since June 1 firefighters have been called 900 residential structural fires across NSW.

During June and July in the Central West, firefighters have been called to 10 house fires in Dubbo, followed by Orange (4), Parkes (4), Lithgow (3), Mudgee (3) and Bathurst (1).

The numbers in all locations, with the exception of Parkes, are down compared to the winter of 2018 when Dubbo again topped the list with 21 house fires followed by Orange (13), Bathurst (7), Lithgow (3), Mudgee (3) and Parkes (1).

Some of the blazes that Australian Community Media have reported on have been caused by cooking left unattended, clothing placed too close to a heater and fireplace ash not being properly extinguished before being put in the bin.

While a house fire that occurred on Mount Panorama in Bathurst on Thursday is thought to have originated in the flue of a wood stove in the home's kitchen.

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Fire and Rescue NSW Inspector Rob Jansen said winter is a peak time for house fires for a number of reasons.

"People are looking for ways to warm up and sometimes people will bring external use products like heat beads for cooking in to warm up, but that gives off toxic gas.

Also the cold, damp weather during winter means people will use their tumble drier more often or hang clothes close to a heater or fireplace to dry.

"There can be elements of fault, but if there's a likelihood of something happening we need to reduce the likelihood," he said.

Inspector Jansen said it only takes a few minutes for something to go very wrong with a house fire.

"Things can deteriorate in as quick as three minutes from something that's really small to something that's bursting into flames," he said.

The temperature in a room can reach 1000 degrees.

Fire and Rescue NSW Inspector Rob Jansen

"It doesn't take too long until it flashes over ... the temperature in a room can reach 1000 degrees.

"Everything in a room, from the carpet to the curtains, will just burst into flames."

Inspector Jansen encouraged people to visit Fire and Rescue NSW website to find out more and complete a Home Fire Safety Checklist.

  • Data for the number of house fires during August in the Central West is not yet available from Fire and Rescue NSW

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