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Fireys issue warning as house fires spike

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Senior NSW firefighters say they’re alarmed by a spike in fires in homes this winter, less than a week after two elderly people perished in a blaze.

According to the Fire and Rescue NSW, they were called out to 337 fires in residential homes in June – an increase of 24 compared to the same period last year.

Fires in kitchens are up to 150 from 117, while 31 fires started in bedrooms, up by five, and fires in loungerooms rose from 17 to 19.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Trent Curtin said that officers found that 44 per cent of homes they had been called to this winter didn’t have smoke alarms properly installed.

“An affordable smoke alarm, purchased at a hardware store, can provide you with peace of mind that you and your loved ones are protected,” he said.

“If your loved ones or neighbours are elderly, give them a helping hand and ensure they’re protected.”

Last week an elderly couple died in a Wetherill Park house fire despite the best efforts of firefighters and two heroic neighbours who tried to reach them.

It takes the total number of fire-related deaths in the state this winter to six – down from nine at the same point last year.

According to the NSW Fire and Rescue Service, a record 16 people died in fires during the 2022 winter.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Trent Curtin said the number of kitchen fires is worrying.

“We urge the public to keep looking when cooking and invest in a fire extinguisher and fire blanket to store near the kitchen.

“Throwing water over a stove fire will only make it worse. Use a fire blanket to smother the flames if you can.

“Don’t try to put out a kitchen fire if it becomes overwhelming, escape the home and ring triple-0.”

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