Winter warning: ACT house fires caused by heaters and dryers doubled last year

Glynis Quinlan 3 June 2019 3

On August 21 last year, firefighters were called to a house fire in Crace which was believed to have been caused by clothes left too close to a heater. Photos: George Tsotsos.

With winter hitting Canberra, ACT Fire & Rescue is reminding residents that heaters and clothes dryers are a major cause of house fires and that care needs to be taken with their use.

ACT Fire & Rescue attends around 250 house fires each year and said that last year house fires caused by heaters and dryers more than doubled – making up 35 per cent of incidents in July.

On August 21 last year, Region Media reported on a house fire at Crace which was believed to have been caused by clothes being left too close to a heater. The fire led to the partial collapse of the single-storey home, with a woman and child taken to hospital.

At the time, ACT Fire & Rescue urged the community to keep heaters well clear of items that might burn – suggesting a minimum one-metre clearance from clothes, bedding and other combustibles.

With more people using heaters and dryers as temperatures plummet in Canberra this winter, ACT Fire & Rescue has released further advice for keeping homes safe from fire.

They say it is essential to follow these basic rules when using a heater or clothes dryer:

  • clean the lint filter in your clothes dryer before you use it – every time
  • make sure your heater is dust free
  • never turn on a heater or clothes dryer and leave the house
  • stop using your heater or dryer if it’s making unusual noises or not functioning properly
  • always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, especially during installation.

ACT Fire & Rescue are also encouraging Canberrans to make sure they have a working smoke alarm and to ensure their household is familiar with their Home Fire Escape Plan.

For more information and tips on how to prepare your home for winter and reduce the risk of fire visit


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3 Responses to Winter warning: ACT house fires caused by heaters and dryers doubled last year
Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:36 pm 04 Jun 19

As more home units and houses without backyards for a clothesline are being built in Canberra, more people are buying clothes driers because that is the only solution.

At least the home/unit residents will get a warm feeling too knowing that the electricity will be 100% (ha ha) renewable this time next year.

    Maya123 Maya123 11:03 am 05 Jun 19

    The reason that many houses have hardly any backyards, is because of all the McMansions being build. If they were the size of houses being built 50 years ago, on the same size block, they would have a back yard. I used to live in a house on a block of land about 450 sq metres. I had lots of room for a full sized clothesline, a large vegetable garden, parking for several cars and some fruit trees. Now people buy those old houses, and get rid of them and build huge houses which fill the block, leaving hardly any garden. The old house was small for a family, although I bought it from a family of five. It could have been extended, or another bit bigger house built, but still leaving some garden room. There is no reason for a McMansion, and I can’t understand why they are allowed on small blocks.

Matthew Dickson Matthew Dickson 5:00 pm 04 Jun 19

Pretty reckless not doing common knowledge stuff for fire prevention

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