NEAR DISASTER: Jason Long in the kitchen that almost burned down in a cooking fire which might have destroyed his mother's Wolvi home.
NEAR DISASTER: Jason Long in the kitchen that almost burned down in a cooking fire which might have destroyed his mother's Wolvi home. Renee Albrecht

Heavy duty fire blanket and smoke alarm save Wolvi house from destruction

JASON Long has a simple comment on the cost of an industrial grade fire blanket.

"It's cheaper than a new house,” he said on Thursday.

Mr Long had just saved his mother's Wolvi home from burning down, after oil on a stove heated up quicker than expected and caught fire just after midday.

By the time he had responded to the smoke alarm, a standard grade fire blanket was insufficient to put out the fire, which had begun to spread to timber cupboards next to the stove.

"I'm a welder, so I also had an industrial grade fire blanket and that smothered the oil fire.

"Then I could hose down the flames that were running up the outside of the cupboards,” he said.

"But I had to put the oil fire out and move the pot of oil outside before I put any water on the flames.”

He said his welding experience had included several safety courses which included advice on the extreme danger of trying to put out an oil fire with water.

Fire and ambulance services responded to the blaze about 12.30am and rushed to the Sunshine Rd property.

They expanded on Mr Long's advice about the danger of trying to extinguish and oil fire with water, saying oil boils and burns at a much higher temperature than the boiling point of water, which can instantly turn into large volumes of steam, creating an explosion that will propel burning oil in all directions, potentially causing extreme burns.

"At 600 degrees, one litre of water instantly turns into nearly 2000 litres of steam,” one officer said.

"They had a working smoke alarm, so that was a good thing.”

He said householders should not be discouraged from having retail grade fire blankets, provided they meet Australian Standards, but they needed to be used in the very early stages of a fire.

And cooking oil should be constantly attended when on a stove, he said.

But, he agreed, there is nothing wrong with having the highest grade of safety equipment you can afford.

Mr Long said his industrial standard fire blanket may be more expensive than average, but the house would have cost $550,000 to rebuild otherwise.

Ambulance officers transport Mr Long's mother and a male family friend to hospital with minor smoke inhalation, the man also suffering a burn to his hand.

Gympie Times


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