Service heaters and fireplaces to avoid house fires, CFA warns

By Ivy Jensen

THE CFA is urging Echuca homeowners to service wood heaters, open fireplaces and chimneys regularly to avoid a house fire.

CFA District 20 assistant chief fire officer Peter Taylor said brigades had attended several callouts to house fires which started due to wood heaters that had not been maintained or installed correctly.

“It is important for residents to know that chimneys and flues can become blocked and need to be cleaned regularly,” he said.

“A fire can start in the flue or chimney and spread through the roof of a house very quickly.”

“We cannot stress enough the dangers of fire and the importance of conducting regular maintenance, whether you do it yourself or engage a trained technician.”

If you notice smoke or flames coming from your ceiling or roof, call ‘000’ immediately.

Residents should also have a fire escape plan and never be complacent.

Stay safe this winter by following these wood heating safety tips:

● always use a fire screen in front of an open fire;

● extinguish open fires before leaving home or going to sleep;

● ensure ashes are cold before discarding;

● do not dispose ash form your fire into plastic rubbish bins or near buildings;

● chimneys and flues should be cleaned annually;

● keep wood and other combustibles at least 1m away from fire;

● children must be supervised near open fires - maintain a safe distance;

● only burn dry, clean wood;

● brick chimneys and gas heaters should be checked before winter to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning; and

● carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless gas that can be produced by faulty gas heaters, it can be fatal.


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