Tweed house fire victim’s important message
STANDING in his driveway in his singed dressing gown - after two fire callouts to this home within an hour - Hayden Booth has a message for the community.
Neither would have happened if residual-current circuit breakers had been installed, he said.
In the first, the 23-year-old from Banora Point was about to step into the shower when a small electrical fire started in his Widgee Ave kitchen about 12.20pm on Tuesday.
Mr Booth, who lives in the 30-year-old home with his 80-year-old grandma, said he went back to his primary school training when a kitchen fire blanket failed to make an impact on flames.
"Nanna wanted to stay in the house but I said 'No, we have to get down low and go go go'," he said.
"It was very scary. But you know we always have insurance. Our lives are more important."
Once outside on the kerb, Mr Booth used his mobile he left in his car to call triple-0.
After crews from Banora Point and Tweed Heads NSW Fire and Rescue Service contained the first blaze, they left the scene only to be called back about an hour later.
A neighbour called emergency services at 1.46pm again after seeing flames coming from the rear of the house this time.
After a minor house number confusion, about 12 firefighter from both stations found themselves back at the same address.
Tweed Heads Station Officer Chris Perrin said: "We thought what a coincidence getting called back to the same street. But it wasn't just the same street it was the same house."
Fire crews left one of the power circuits on to run the fans to ventilate the property after the first fire.
However a faulty electrical wire sparked another blaze in the home's rear eaves.
Mr Booth's neighbour tried to fight the fire with her garden hose, not realising putting water on an electrical fire was dangerous.
The woman was treated by NSW Ambulance for minor burns and smoke inhalation.
While there was minor structural damage to the left side of the house's eaves and ceiling, firefighters managed to contain the blaze.
Two donned breathing apparatus and the hazmat team also attended.
Station Officer Perrin said once the power was shut off to the house, it was safe to use water on the fire.
"For electrical fires, you need dry chemical powder extinguishers - you can buy these from Bunnings and places like that. They are good to have in kitchens for electrical fires and fat fires," he said.
Mr Booth's family in the area live in houses ranging from three decades to four decades old and urged others in the same situation to get their wiring checked and install circuit breakers.
"You can get a (residual-current circuit breaker) from Bunnings for under $20 and get an electrician to install it," he said.
"The problem is people with the attitudes 'We've been living her for 30 years and it's been fine, why change it now'. You will find most people in Banora are quite elderly and could be a bit stuck in their ways.
"It's just so important to stop things like this happening."