A FAULTY airconditioner has caused extensive damage to another property, with a couple in their 70s forced to flee their house as the flames took hold.
The pair had been inside their home on Everist Avenue at Yarrawonga on Saturday night when the blaze broke out about 8.20pm.
The fire started in the evaporative cooling system and a nearby resident ran to the property in a bid to help the couple leave.
No-one was injured.
CFA duty officer Pete Dedman said firefighters had done a good job to prevent the fire spreading.
“There was extensive damage within the roof space and the airconditioner unit itself,” he said.
“There was some minor damage throughout the rest of the rooms of the house, with a bit of smoke and water damage.
“The occupants of the house had evacuated themselves and the ambulance attended as a precaution, because they were elderly, just to check for possible smoke inhalation.”
The occupants did not need to be hospitalised.
An airconditioner was suspected of starting the fire at the Chardonnay Drive home, about 2.55am last Thursday.
The blaze had started in the roof and spread to other parts of the brick building.
The property was extensively damaged and left uninhabitable.
The CFA issued a warning on January 11 after certain models of Braemar air conditioners were recalled.
People are urged to check their units, with some other brands sharing components with the Braemar systems.
It was unclear which airconditioners were involved in the two recent fires, but Mr Dedman said they needed to be maintained.
“As with all electrical appliances, there’s always a risk of fire,” he said.
“Particularly of late given the hot spell we’ve had, airconditioners are running a lot of the time.
“Our advice would be to ensure they’re regularly checked and serviced, usually at the start of the summer season.”
Mr Dedman said he had attended fires involving both evaporative airconditioners and split systems.
The Yarrawonga fire involved an evaporative system.
“It’s not just confined to one particular type,” he said.
“The problem with roof fires is they can spread rapidly and drop down into the house itself, usually resulting in total (fire) involvement.
“The brigade got onto it quickly and did a great job.”
CFA state fire investigation coordinator Nicole Harvey said systems could be made safe when issues were identified.
Product recalls and other information is available at www.productsafety.gov.au/recalls
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