Dangers of hot coals highlighted by two fire incidents

Hot coals have been determined as the cause of two separate fires in Cobar in the past week: (left) a water tank was melted when coals in a nearby bin caught fire; and (right) a deck caught fire after a bucket of coals reignited. ▪ Photos contributed

Two incidents in the past week have prompted a reminder from local fire fighters for residents to properly dispose of coals and ash from wood fires.

Fire & Rescue NSW Station 256 Cobar  issued a reminder via their Facebook page after the two incidents where coals have ignited and caused damage at local homes.

Firefighters were called to an incident on Sunday night where a wheelie bin had caught fire and completely destroyed a nearby water tank.

The fire is believed to have been caused by seemingly cold coals that had been emptied into the bin and had reignited.

Fire & Rescue NSW Station 256 reported on their Facebook page that the full water tank helped prevent a potentially more serious incident.

“It released a large amount of water that stopped the fire potentially spreading to the house, which was about 50cm from the tank.”

In another incident last Friday, cold coals in a pot are believed to have reignited with the assistance of cold, fresh air, inadvertently fanned by a nearby reverse cycle air-conditioner.

The coals had become hot enough to burn through to the verandah.

A neighbour (who is also a firefighter) noticed the fire and alerted the residents before assisting to extinguish the fire.

Station 256 Captain Tony Walkinshaw said it is a timely reminder for residents.

“You can not trust coals to be cold,” he said.

It is recommended that coals are placed in water or hosed down, and are not placed near or in any container made of combustible material.