House fire shows the need for working smoke alarms

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Christmas decorations and lights may look great inside the home and around the property, but they can pose lethal risks unless they’re properly maintained.

A recent house fire that broke out in a suburb in Burnie, Tasmania, highlights the dangers of installing faulty Christmas lights.

Firefighters arrived minutes after they were alerted to find the house on Ross Avenue, Montello, engulfed in flames and three residents trapped in the backyard.

“The occupants of this property were lucky to escape the fire unharmed after being alerted by two working smoke alarms installed in the house,” regional fire investigator Anthony Goss told The Mercury. “If it was not for working smoke alarms, there could have been a tragic outcome which is terrible at any time of year, let alone this close to Christmas.”

An investigation determined that an electrical failure in a set of Christmas lights had sparked the blaze.

The house was extremely damaged, and damage costs were estimated at $300,000.

According to Cameron Davis, CEO of Smoke Alarm Solutions (SAS), faulty Christmas decorations can have deadly consequences.

“Simple oversights have the potential to start fires and destroy Christmas,” he said. “It is essential families check for worn plugs, frayed cords and faulty Christmas lights before they start decorating.”

Davis added that landlords and property managers can safeguard the dwellings’ occupants by installing professionally maintained and compliant smoke alarms.

The Tasmania Fire Service has issued a safety warning, asking households to ensure that Christmas lights are switched off at the power point before they leave the house or go to bed.

“Christmas lights are usually stored all year round, resulting in damage to cords and cables, which poses a fire risk,” Goss said. “We urge people to ensure Christmas lights in homes and offices are switched off at the power point and never left on when unattended for a long period of time.”

Related Stories:
Complying With QLD’s Latest Smoke Alarm Legislation
Will More Stringent Smoke Alarm Legislation Be Passed In NSW?


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