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Firefighters rescue sleeping woman from South Melbourne fire

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21 Mar 2019
A sleeping woman has had a lucky escape after her South Melbourne apartment filled with smoke yesterday.

MFB firefighters were called to the Palmerston Court address just after midnight after a neighbour heard a smoke alarm sounding in an adjacent apartment.

Crews forced entry into the apartment and were met with thick black smoke which prevented them from seeing more than 15 centimetres in front of themselves.

On closer inspection, firefighters were alarmed to find a woman fast asleep on the couch in the heavily smoke-logged room.

They quickly woke her up and helped her to evacuate to safety.

It’s believed the woman had been cooking pasta on a stove when she fell asleep, leaving the cooking unattended and sparking the fire.

South Melbourne Station Officer Mick Gillies said the woman was lucky to be alive.

“She was so deep in sleep that the smoke alarm was activating but it still didn’t wake her,” he said.

“Fortunately, the smoke alarm alerted her neighbour to the fire.

“When we got there smoke had almost completely filled the apartment and had begun dropping from the ceiling to the floor level.

“In another few minutes the thick black smoke would have reached her on the couch.

“She was at very real risk of smoke inhalation and even death.

“If it hadn’t been for her smoke alarm alerting her neighbour, she may not be alive today.

Tips for staying fire safe in the kitchen:

  • Always supervise children in the kitchen. Keep them away from the stove top and oven. Keep pot handles turned in.
  • Keep stove top, griller, oven, range hood and cooking area free from built up grease, dust and oil.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Keep combustibles such as tea towels and paper towels away from cooking and heat sources.
  • Ensure kitchen appliances are clean and in good working order.
  • A fire extinguisher and fire blanket should be stored within easy reach but away from the cooking area. Only use a fire extinguisher or fire blanket if you feel able to use the equipment safely.

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The Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council (AFAC) recommends monthly testing of smoke alarms to ensure they are working correctly.

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