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Firefighters call for caution at Christmas following a spate of BBQ fires

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24 Dec 2018
MFB firefighters are calling on the community to stay vigilant following a spate of fires involving BBQs and liquid petroleum gas bottles in the past 24 hours.

On Christmas Eve, MFB firefighters were called to three fires involving BBQs and gas bottles units, some which left residents with serious injuries and damage to properties.

A BBQ fire which occurred late on Monday afternoon left a Doncaster resident with extensive burns and has meant he is spending Christmas Eve in hospital.Two separate incidents in South Yarra and Avondale Heights involved BBQs which caught fire and threatened homes.  

Following warnings distributed by MFB on Christmas Eve, Northcote residents found themselves having a less-than-merry Christmas when a a gas cylinder at the rear of their home caught alight because of a leaking hose connection. The fire quickly spread to the house.  

Firefighters managed to get the fire under control quickly, although the rear of the property was damaged in the blaze.

As of 9pm on Christmas evening firefighters were working to disperse the gas from the cylinder and make the property safe. 

In a statement on Christmas Eve, MFB’s Acting Deputy Chief Officer Ken Brown said taking a few simple precautions before you fire up the barbeque can help ensure your loved ones are safe this Christmas.

“Most incidents and injuries can be avoided if you take care to check and maintain your BBQ or outdoor oven before using it,” he said.

“The check is simple; just spray the hose and regulator connections with soapy water before firing up the barbeque. 

“Bubbles will form if gas is escaping. If you’ve got any doubts about the connections, turn off the gas and replace the connection or contact a licensed gasfitter.

“You should leak-test the connection to the gas cylinder every time you connect it. And remember, cooking should never be left unattended."

“The weather is predicted to stay warm, and with many families getting together to celebrate over a barbeque it’s so it’s important yours is safe.

“If the connections on your barbecue are loose, the hose has perished or the cylinder has been damaged you could be putting your loved ones at risk of serious injury or even death.

To ensure your barbecue is safe:

  • If a fire occurs, don’t try to extinguish the flames if it is not safe to do so. Call Triple Zero and turn off the gas at the meter or cylinder, but only if you can do so safely.
  • Check the LP gas cylinder on your barbecue before you turn it on. A cylinder must not be refilled if it hasn’t been tested for more than 10 years or if the cylinder has been damaged.
  • To have your gas cylinder tested ensure you use a licensed gasfitter
  • You can exchange LP gas cylinders at a reputable supplier
  • Check the hose to make sure it has not deteriorated
  • Check the connections to make sure they are tight and that the O rings are in good condition and have not cracked or split
  • Use your barbecue in a clear space. Never use it indoors or in a confined area and ensure there is adequate clearance from walls, fences, and other property
  • Cook with barbecue utensils and wear an apron to protect yourself from hot fat
  • Remove excess fat from the barbecue after each use to prevent fires
  • Do not use barbecues in windy conditions as the burners may blow out, risking a gas leak.

For more information regarding BBQ safety please visit: http://www.mfb.vic.gov.au/Community-Safety/Campaigns-and-Events/BBQ-safety-tips.html

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