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High rise, high risk

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30 Apr 2018
Flicked cigarette butts, unattended cooking and poor maintenance are some of the common causes sparking more than 100 fires in Melbourne high rises each year.

Figures released today by Melbourne’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade reveal firefighters attended 1,420 preventable fires in residential high rise buildings over the past decade.

More than half of the blazes were triggered by unattended cooking and foodstuffs, while flicked cigarette butts were a factor in at least 127 cases.

The high rise fires have caused more than $12 million worth of total damage over the past 11 years.

The kitchen was the main culprit, with investigations revealing it was the area of ignition in 811 cases, with rubbish chutes (186), balconies (61), bedrooms (48) and garbage areas (34) also proving hotspots.    

Melbourne’s CBD had the highest number of high rise fires (441), followed by Carlton (198), Richmond (113) and Southbank (103).

MFB Assistant Chief Fire Officer Martin Braid said high rise buildings posed unique challenges for both firefighters and residents.

“Melbourne’s skyline has changed significantly in the past few decades,” ACFO Braid said.

“With a growing trend towards vertical living, our strategies for responding to and reducing fire risk have to evolve too.

“Living in close proximity to others and potentially lengthier evacuation times are some of the issues faced by high rise dwellers.

“If you live in a high rise building, it’s critical that you know what to do in the event of a fire.

“By following some simple safety advice, you can easily reduce your risk.”

Fire safety tips for high rise residents

KNOW WHAT TO DO:

KNOW what your plan is

KNOW where your exits are

KNOW how to reduce your risks

For information, visit http://www.mfb.vic.gov.au/Community-Safety/Campaigns-and-Events/High-Rise-Fire-Safety.html

 

Major causes of high rise apartment fires from 1 July 2007 – 30 June 2017

Type of fire

Number of fires

Rubbish chute

215

Cigarettes, other than rubbish chute

127

Air conditioning/refrigeration

37

Barbeque

13

Unattended cooking

263

Other foodstuffs

476

Other

289

Total

1,420

 

High rise apartment fires – top 20 suburbs

Suburb

Number of high rise fires

Melbourne

441

Carlton

198

Richmond

113

Southbank

103

Docklands

62

Flemington

62

Collingwood

57

South Yarra

44

Fitzroy

43

North Melbourne

43

South Melbourne

34

Kensington

25

Port Melbourne

21

St Kilda

18

Williamstown

17

East Melbourne

15

Footscray

13

West Melbourne

9

Prahran

9

Brunswick

8

Total

1,335

 

 

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