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Cheap heater too hot for South Melbourne brothel

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13 Aug 2010
MFB fire investigators have determined the cause of a fire at a brothel in South Melbourne this morning to be a portable fan heater.

MFB fire investigation crews attending the scene found the cause was not suspicious, tracking the origin to a small, cheap portable heater in one of the bedrooms. MFB’s Commander Frank Stockton said that heaters and fireplaces were the second most common cause of house fires during the winter months.

“It is important to ensure that portable heaters in particular are not left unsupervised,” he said. “If you leave the room, or go to bed, make sure you turn off the heater.”

CFA State Duty Officer Ross Sullivan also stressed the importance of having working smoke alarms in all homes and businesses.

“If a fire breaks out while you are sleeping, a smoke alarm can save your life.”

MFB crews were called to the single storey building fire in Tope Street at 6.50am.

Firefighters took almost an hour to get on top of the fire, which was fully ablaze when they arrived.

Police were also called to the scene to divert traffic around the incident.

Bringing the intense fire in the roof under control proved difficult. Firefighters who were initiating a search inside the building were withdrawn due to fears the roof would collapse.

More than 20 firefighters and 10 trucks were able to quickly contain the fire from spreading to adjoining buildings but it took almost an hour to bring it fully under control.

“Items inside the brothel - combustible material such as foam bedding and other rubber items - added fuel to the fire and gave off quite a bit of smoke,” said MFB Commander Wayne Garrard.

For more information contact:

MFB Media (03) 9665 4699

CFA Media (03) 5330 3124

The roof space has been completely gutted by intense flames
The remaining heater base
The remaining heater fan
Fire investigators at work





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