Safe disposal vital

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AN Invercargill fire officer is reminding people to dispose of hot ashes carefully.
A fire in South Invercargill last week highlighted how easy it was for hot ashes to ignite, even after several days, station officer Graeme Gilroy said.
Firefighters were called to a rented house about 2am last Monday, where a wheelie bin was on fire outside the rear door.
‘‘We arrived to find the occupant doing a good job of safely containing and extinguishing the fire with a bucket and water. We used a highpressure hose reel to extinguish it fully.
‘‘Upon investigation we found the house to be fully smoke logged by the fire, which had spread to the adjacent wall cavity and damaged a nearby car.’’
Mr Gilroy said the fire was caused by incorrect disposal of three to four-day-old hot ashes.
‘‘Ashes remain hot for five to seven days and should be placed in an metal ash can then further dampened down before disposal.
‘‘[People] should also check the location of their wheelie bin, as, should it be involved in a fire, the location may restrict occupants’ ability to escape their home. Occupants should always have an alternate means of escape in their home escape plan.’’
Mr Gilroy said the occupants had been woken by the smoke alarms fitted two weeks earlier by the landlord as required by amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act which came into force at the start of this month. They were able to evacuate their young family and dial 111.
‘‘It was pleasing to note the landlord had installed the alarms… as smoke alarms played a major part in the safe evacuation of the occupants and in limiting damage to the home. This fire should serve as a reminder to other landlords who have yet to comply
with the Act.’’
The external wall of the house suffered moderate heat, smoke and fire damage, he said. The home had minor to moderate smoke damage, the paintwork on the car blistered and trims melted, and the wheelie bin was a write-off.

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