Warning to help stay fire safe

By Alison King

Paper stored on top of a fireplace and a 1m log sticking out are just two of the reasons the Rotorua Fire Brigade has been called out this winter.

Owners of fireplaces are being urged to make sure they follow safe guidelines this winter. Firefighters were called to a house on Rimuvale St on Monday night after a log fell from a fireplace and on to carpet.

Senior station officer Jim Prescott said there was only smoke in the house and no extensive damage but there had already been too many calls this winter.

"We've had people put boxes of paper on top of fireplaces and a few calls which have involved wood falling out of fireplaces.

"We've even had people put in a metre-long piece of log with 700mm hanging off. When the end has burned off it's fallen on to the carpet as they had forgotten about it."

Mr Prescott said wood shouldn't be stored on and close to fireplaces and fireguards should be in use, especially if there were children in the house.

"It's also important that smoke alarms have been checked as they will be your first warning that anything has gone wrong."

House fires happen on average every three hours across New Zealand. Rotorua Fire Brigade offer a free home safety check for residents to reduce the chance of their home becoming a statistic. The check takes about 30 minutes and the Rotorua station has a target of 600 checks each year. To arrange one call 0800 NZ FIRE.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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