Be careful trying to keep warm

A NARROW escape for 11 people caught in a Sydney house fire has prompted a warning from the state's fire chiefs for families to be more careful when trying to keep warm in the winter.

In the past month three elderly people in NSW have died in house fires believed to be started by overused heaters.

On Thursday, 11 people were evacuated from a Sydney street when a stove caught on fire and sent smoke spiralling through nearby homes.

A man was rushed to hospital with serious injures after he tried to switch the valve on the LPG bottle net to the stove.

While everyone else escaped unharmed, the home will have to be destroyed.

Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services, Geoff Provest said recent statistics revealed more than 60% of home fire deaths occur during winter.

He said while there was always a spike in fires in winter, deaths were becoming more common.

NSW Fire and Rescue statistics show that out of the 281 fire deaths reported in the pas decade, 63% occurred in the colder months.

In the past 12 months that number has increased to 80%.

Superintendent Ed Salinas, Manager Community Engagement and Development Unit, families could greatly reduce fire risk by changing their habits.

He said basic steps like turning off heaters before everyone foes to bed and not leaving candles and cigarettes unattended were often overlooked.



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