News Releases

Novelty lighters pose potential fire risk

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09 Jul 2009
The MFB is warning parents, guardians and carers about the dangers of keeping novelty fire and cigarette lighters around the home, following a house fire in Watsonia last night which caused approximately $100,000 damage.

It is believed the fire was accidentally started by children playing with a cigarette lighter while their mother was preparing dinner. Fortunately in this incident the mother and three children escaped the house without harm. It is also understood the house did not have any smoke alarms fitted.

This is a timely reminder that lighters of any sort, and particularly novelty lighters which are attractive to children, should be kept out of children’s hands at all times.

The novelty lighters look like toys and come in the shape of small hammers, guns, cars and animals. They are sold at novelty shops, as well as some service stations and convenience stores. Many do not even look like lighters until they are operated and produce a flame.

MFB Deputy Chief Fire Officer Keith Adamson said small children are often naturally curious about fire, and children under five are particularly vulnerable to injury and death in the event of a fire.

“MFB firefighters see all too often children admitted to hospital with burns and scalds, and the injuries sustained are severe and long-lasting. We urge everyone to always keep matches, lighters and candles out of reach of children and preferably locked up.

“Of particular concern with these novelty lighters is that some don’t appear to conform to Australian safety labelling requirements,” he said.

For pictures of the novelty lighters, more information or to arrange an interview, please contact the Media and Communications Department on (03) 9665 4452 or

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