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NZ: One Third of Fires Caused by Electrical Faults

Wellington, New Zealand: Another property fire in Invercargill at the weekend has spurred the fire service to once again plead with residents to follow fire safety precautions, including electrical fire safety.   The adjoining garage of a Dunbeath Pl house was destroyed after it was engulfed by flames early yesterday.   Fire safety officer Paul Glanville said investigations, which were continuing, showed the fire was most likely started by an electrical fault.

Saturday night drinks with friends saved the house from the flames and potentially the lives of the 12 people inside, when the fire started, he said.  No-one was hurt because the people had raced out of the house and called the fire service at 1.15am, he said.   “About one dozen people were at the house having a drink when they saw flames flying past the lounge window. It was lucky they were home and awake,” he said.

There was smoke damage to the roof in the lounge and a visible black burn hole in the wall of a room joined to the garage, which investigators were looking at.   He believed it was the ninth building fire in the city in the past month, which was worrying, he said.   He urged people to be aware of electrical faults, which caused a third of Invercargill fires.  Signs of an electric fault included scorch marks, faulty switches, dimming lights when an appliance was turned on, buzzing sounds or strange smells.

“Always do a fire safety check before bed, which includes turning off appliances at the wall,” he said. Even standby, which was how most people left televisions and stereos at night, was not safe, he said.   He advised homeowners to also turn off appliances at the wall when they left home in the morning. “The key message is to have smoke alarms that work and to test them at least once a month,” he said.

Story via The Southland Times.

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