A UNIT fire that could have easily spread to four adjoining South Albury flats has prompted a warning from fire authorities about the dangers of barbecues.
The eaves and part of the roof of a rented Ebden Street unit were severely damaged by fire after a barbecue caught alight on Monday evening.
Albury Civic fire station captain John Vandeven said a hose connecting a gas bottle to the barbecue against the wall of one of the units had started to leak.
“It appears the gas bottle has been left on and it seems the hose has perished and the gas has leaked out,” he said.
The tenant told firefighters he had not used the barbecue for at least six months.
“It’s very important before we use our barbecues that we should make sure all the hoses are sound and are not perished,” Mr Vandeven said.
As well as a complete check of the barbecue, householders are urged to not leave it in a place where combustibles are close by.
Mr Vandeven said it was fortunate the man was home, as the explosion on ignition blew out a nearby window. Further damage was prevented with the fire brigade arriving quickly.
While the fire damaged some eaves — which had to be partly pulled out to check flames had not gone through the roof cavity — firefighters were able to prevent curtains and other internal furnishings from catching fire.
The brigade got the call about 6.15pm and had the flames out and the scene mopped up within about 30 minutes.
Mr Vandeven said the landlord estimated the damage bill at $10,000.
He said another important safety step was to make sure barbecues were only ever used by adults.
Mr Vandeven said other safety tips for using barbecues included:
• Make sure you comply with fire restrictions, such as total fire ban days.
• Check gas cylinders for rust or damage and make sure connections are clear and fit properly before lighting.
• Set up a barbecue in a well-ventilated area on a firm, level base sheltered from the wind and away from garden sheds and fences.
• Have a supply of water close by and if possible a fire extinguisher.
• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the correct start up and shut down procedures.
• Never put flammable liquid on a barbecue.
• If a gas leak occurs and it is safe to do so, shut off the cylinder immediately and allow any gas to disperse.
• Spray soapy water on suspect connections as bubbles will form if any gas is escaping from the bottle.