A house fire in Withcott in 2013.
A house fire in Withcott in 2013. Dave Noonan

Fire fighters warn residents as temperatures drop

GATTON Fire Station Officer and fire fighter of 35 years Brad Jeffs remembers a situation where a simple mistake during bath time led to a serious house fire.

"They put a heater into a bathroom with kids and the kids have thrown their towels near the heater," Mr Jeffs said.

"And the whole house caught fire and was destroyed."

Thanks to their working smoke alarm, the residents were alerted to the fire and safely escaped.

As temperatures drop, the chance of house fires increases as residents try to keep warm.

"It means we have to be more vigilant about the way we heat our homes, make sure our appliances are safe and take care around children and pets," he said.

Only a month ago, a home in Laidley North caught fire and was badly damaged as flames engulfed the property.

Mr Jeffs said using items like electric blankets and heaters could lead to a potential increased risk of fire.

"I've seen a few times before, someone would put a heater beside their bed," he said.

"Then get hot during the night, throw off the blanket and it lands on the heater and starts a fire."

A few years ago, Mr Jeffs attended a fire involving a flue.

"There was a wood stove with a flue that goes through the chimney and they had been burning green wood," he said.

"It hadn't been maintained properly and it caught fire and spread fire through the ceiling space."

He said there were four main steps residents should follow in the lead up to winter to decrease their chance of fire.

"Make sure smoke alarms are clean and ready to go, that's step one," he said.

Checking over heating appliances is step two and step three involves testing electric blankets.

"If you've got an electric heater, a gas heater or a wood stove, check they're operating correctly," he said.

"If you've got electric blankets, lie them out flat and start them up and leave them on for about thirty minutes."

He said to look for kinks in the wires and hot spots on the blanket.

"If you're concerned, take them to an electrician for a check or throw them out," he said.

Step four involves moving combustible material to a safe distance from heaters.

"Move combustibles away from any heater that might catch fire during the night," he said.

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