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Cigarette sparks Southbank balcony blaze

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16 Jun 2017
A cigarette tossed from a high-rise apartment building, landing on an apartment below has been blamed for sparking a balcony fire in Southbank earlier this week.

Firefighters were called to the Kavanagh Street building on Wednesday 14 June just before 5pm and arrived to find flames and thick black smoke issuing from a 13th floor balcony.

MFB Fire Investigators believe the cigarette was discarded from another apartment, landed on the balcony and then set fire to outdoor furniture.

Crews managed to extinguish the flames and stop them spreading to neighbouring homes.

Discarded cigarettes are one of the most common causes of balcony fires each year. 

With an increasing number of people living in apartments, MFB has developed some key tips to keep residents in high-rise buildings safe.

Importantly, cigarette butts should never be thrown over the side of a balcony as they can cause fires. Smokers should ensure they fully extinguish cigarette butts and dispose of them appropriately in heavy, high-sided ashtrays.

Other tips to keep your balcony safe include:

  • Regularly de-clutter your balcony by removing flammable items and keeping furniture away from exterior walls.
  • Keep all flammable materials a safe distance of at least one metre away from air conditioning units.
  • Keep a dry powder fire extinguisher handy. Use only in the event of a small fire and if you feel physically and mentally able.
  • Always store your barbeque gas cylinder outside, upright and away from sources of heat.
  • When using a barbecue maintain a safe distance of 50cm from exterior walls, flammable materials and electrical ignition sources.

For more information on fire safety, visit and download a copy of the Home Fire Safety Booklet.

Fire safety on balconies

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