An unusual house fire trend identified by the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) has prompted a warning to the public to be cautious when using mosquito coils at home this summer.
Warm summer nights mean lazy drinks by the pool with friends and family, or sitting in your favourite chair taking in the sunset on your back deck or front patio.
They also mean mosquitoes!
Late last year MFS firefighters battled two house fires involving mosquito coils in use on timber decking that left a combined $1 million damage bill.
MFS community engagement officer, Phil Evans, said it was a rare house fire trend that Fire Cause Investigators don’t recall seeing in the past decade.
“We were surprised to find two fires of this nature occurring within a week,” Mr Evans said.
“Both incidents involved people having to suddenly evacuate their homes in the middle of the night.
“With summer holidays in full swing and families socialising outdoors, the MFS is giving a timely reminder about the safe use of mosquito coils.”
Two Wells CFS brigade captain Adam Harris, agreed the potential for mosquito coils to cause a fire was serious.
Adam said any insect repellent appliance, including the popular citronella flame burners readily available from hardware stores, could start a fire if left unattended.
“All of these things are good but they are not always fit for the same purpose,” he said.
“The key is maintenance and positioning of these appliances.
“You don’t want to put them on anything that is combustible, and make sure they are extinguished properly when you go inside.”
With respect to the citronella flame burners, Adam reminded residents they should not be used on a total fire ban day.
“Definitely don’t leave these unattended, and they can’t be used on a total fire ban day as they are an open flame,” he said.
The MFS urges householders to combine the above safety tips with interconnected smoke alarms that are less than 10 years old and have an up-to-date Home Fire Escape Plan.