A LOG from an open fire is thought to have caused a blaze which badly damaged a Merrivale home last week.
The burning log had rolled from a fireplace in the lounge of the Merrivale Drive home on Friday afternoon, Warrnambool Fire Brigade operations officer Greg Kinross said yesterday.
The occupants were not home at the time.
Mr Kinross said the incident was a stark reminder for people to ensure all open fireplaces and wood-burning heaters were properly screened and secured.
The blaze was one of two serious house fires on Friday.
Investigations have been unable to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a Terang home earlier in the day. The High Street home was also unoccupied at the time.
A wood-fired combustion heater had been the starting point of a fire that sent a Camperdown woman to The Alfred hospital with an injury to her windpipe on July 18, a CFA district 6 representative told The Standard yesterday.
Meanwhile, a rise in the number of kitchen fires across the state has prompted the CFA to warn Victorians to take extra care in the most fire-prone room, with 36 per cent of regional house fires starting in the kitchen.
The Barwon South West region had 18 house fires during the first month of winter — up six per cent on last year.
The main causes included unattended cooking (20 per cent), electrical faults (20 per cent) and wood-fuelled heating (17 per cent).
In Warrnambool’s municipality there were 17 house fires in the first six months of the year, with an estimated total damage bill of $43,400.
CFA community safety manager James Haley said it was up to every Victorian to take responsibility to protect their home against fire this winter.
“Just a few simple steps can help prevent fire in your home, such as always keeping an eye on the cooking and keeping at least one metre of clear space around heaters and open fires,” Mr Haley said.
“Sadly, at least four Victorians have lost their lives in house fires since January.”
A home fire safety checklist can be downloaded from: www.homefiresafety.com.au