Four fatal house fires in week spark safety plea
OFFICIALS from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have urged people to step up precautions to prevent house fires this winter after four fatal house fires last week.
QFES Commissioner Lee Johnson said winter usually saw an increase in the number of house fires, many due to electrical faults in heaters.
While last winter saw 139 house fires in the state with no fatalities, house fires in Labrador, Middle Park, Mt Isa and Port Douglas last week had each claimed a life, he said.
"These unfortunate circumstances lead me to remind everyone around the state to take action and make sure we keep this number to a minimum," Mr Johnson said.
"Take the time to test your smoke alarms, revise your evacuation plans with your family and check and test your heaters and other electrical appliances including dryers and electric blankets.
"Never go to sleep with these appliances on and take particular care with your cooking, as well as lit fireplaces and candles."
The four deaths, which are all still subject to investigation, brought the number of house fire fatalities so far this year to 11.
In comparison, there were 14 house fire fatalities for the whole of 2013 and nine in 2012.
In 2011, there were 28 people killed, including the large-scale tragedies at Slacks Creek, where 11 people died, and Tewantin, where Matt Golinski's wife and daughters perished.
"While tragic accidents do happen, there are a number of preventative measures that everyone can take to ensure their home is as safe as possible to avoid fatalities," Mr Johnson said.
"I ask all Queenslanders to think seriously about what action they can take to ensure the house fire death toll does not continue to rise."