Kitchens main cul­prits in house fire hot spot

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Danielle Jarvis

MT DRUITT Fire Sta­tion deals with more res­i­den­tial fires than any other in NSW. The ma­jor­ity of the fires are started in the kitchen be­tween 5pm and 11pm, when peo­ple are usu­ally at home cooking or us­ing elec­tri­cal out­lets for their TV and other de­vices. Sta­tion Com­man­der Daron Lesslie said Mt Druitt’s pop­u­la­tion den­sity and older houses con­trib­uted to the call-out fre­quency. “They’re not all hous­ing com­mis­sion fires,” he said. “Par­tic­u­larly in Mt Druitt, there are a lot of elec­tri­cal fires in­clud­ing fuse box and cir­cuit box fires, but also the houses were built quickly and cheaply due to the gov­ern­ment at the time.

“Most of the fires are not de­lib­er­ate, but most are deemed sus­pi­cious mainly be­cause we can’t find the cause on the night.”

Mr Lesslie said a lot of house fires started be­cause of some­thing as sim­ple as get­ting dis­tracted.

“Nearly half hap­pen in the kitchen, be­cause we have so many dis­trac­tions: phones, TV and in­ter­net,” he said.

“Un­cleaned grills and ovens and left­over fat in trays also eas­ily catch fire.”

The first crew on the scene will de­ter­mine how many other trucks are needed for the par­tic­u­lar fire.

The crew will then split into two: one to ex­tin­guish the fire and the other to make sure there is no one left in the house.

“You have got three min­utes to get out in or­der to sur­vive a stan­dard house fire,” Mr Lesslie said.

“A stan­dard house fire will usu­ally need two trucks. If it spreads then we need more.

“The quicker we get called the less da­m­age there is go­ing to be.”

Mr Lesslie un­der­lined the im­por­tance of smoke alarms, which be­came manda­tory for homes in 2006. He en­cour­aged peo­ple to check if their alarm needed re­plac­ing be­cause they only lasted 10 years.

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