THE district has been rocked by two house fires in recent days. The first occurred late last Tuesday night (August 12) in Armstrongs Road, Meeniyan, and tragically took a life, when a house was burnt to the ground.
Then on Wednesday afternoon a blaze started in a house in Fullers Road, Foster. Local CFA brigades attended – from Foster, Fish Creek, Yanakie, Toora and Welshpool. Thanks to their efforts, much of the house was saved, sustaining only smoke damage. However, an annex (where the fire began) and part of the house – the kitchen and bathroom – were destroyed.
The Meeniyan house fire was reported just after 11pm on Tuesday. Brigades from Meeniyan, Dumbalk, Fish Creek and Koonwarra attended, but the house was already well alight and the fire spread rapidly.
Detectives from Victoria Police Arson Squad are still investigating the cause of the fire, but it is believed to have been sparked by a cigarette or a small electric fan heater. There are no suspicious circumstances.
Forensic tests are being carried out to determine the identity of the deceased person found in the burnt-out shell of the house.
Foster CFA brigade captain David Jones said that the call to attend a structural fire in Fullers Road, Foster, came through around 2pm on Wednesday. On arrival, the fire officers found the house burning fiercely. They used copious amounts of water to extinguish the blaze, so it was fortunate that there were several tankers in attendance.
“It was a good save on the part of the brigades,” said David Jones. “I’d like to thank the other brigades for their prompt attendance.”
Fire investigators later found that the fire had started from a fault in a freezer in the annex.
David Jones said thanks are also due to electrical contractors PromCo for their swift attendance and to local electrician Shaun Roffey, whose attendance that evening allowed the power to be re-connected to the shed, so that freezers in the house could be re-connected and food saved.
The fire took several hours to extinguish. The last fire fighters did not leave the scene until 6.30pm.
Over the past few weeks, CFA crews across Victoria have been called to more than 80 residential fires. The CFA notes that heaters, chimneys, electric blankets and clothes dryers can become a fire risk, particularly if they have been sitting unused for a period of time. They recommended taking the following measures to prevent a house fire:
- Book a licensed gas-fitter to check your gas heater;
- Check chimneys, flues and fire boxes for cracks, rust and debris;
- Check electric blankets for kinks in the wiring;
- Clean the lint filter in your dryer (and continue to do this after every use);
- Check appliances for visibly frayed or damaged wiring;
- Complete the Home Fire Safety Checklist to see if you’ve done everything you can to protect you and your family;
- Launch the Hotspot House to see how to keep your home safe.
Visit http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/homefire to find out more.