10 July 2018

Page 5


Man dragged to safety from burning house fire igniting kindling in the shed. Flinders CFA crews put out the blaze which caused “moderate” damage to the side of the house in Wood Street. Sergeant Hocking said homeowners should be especially vigilant in winter as fires often started near wood heaters and open fireplaces.

Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au AN off-duty policeman dragged a Somerville resident from his burning home, probably saving his life, on the afternoon of Friday 29 June. Senior Constable Darren Prestney, formerly of Mornington police and now at Dandenong Sexual Offences Unit, was walking his dog in Rex Court about 3.40pm when he saw smoke coming from the roof. Running to the front door he peered inside and heard a faint call for help. A man in his 60s was lying in the hallway after falling from his wheelchair as he attempted to crawl to safety from the kitchen. He had earlier fallen asleep in front of the stove while cooking and been overcome by smoke when parts of the kitchen caught fire. Senior Constable Prestney kicked in the front door and rushed inside to pull the man out. The brick veneer house was well alight and the interior filled with flames and smoke. Firefighter Geoff Gommers, of Somerville CFA, said the house was “40 per cent involved” when crews rushed to the scene 10 minutes later. Power lines were sparking and the entire front of the house was ablaze. The fire took 45 minutes to bring under control and another two hours to fully extinguish. CFA crews managed to save two boats and a shed, as well as jewellery, mementoes, and two wheelchairs from inside the house. One electric mobility scooter was lost. Firefighter Gommers said he was recommending Senior Constable Prestney for a bravery award. This was confirmed by Somerville CFA Captain David O’Brien who said the policeman had “made a really good effort”. “I’ve just completed the paperwork for the award and sent it to district headquarters and they will make the recommendation.” Hastings Senior Sergeant Shane Pola also

House lost in fire

Fire rescue: A policeman has been recommended for a bravery award after dragging a man for safety from during a fire at this Somerville house. Picture: Gary Sissons

commended the policeman’s efforts in saving the man’s life. “He did very well,” he said. “He was in the right place at the right time to help.” A fire investigator had been requested to examine the scene next morning. CFA stations launched a residential fire safety campaign on Wednesday 20 June to raise awareness of fire safety around the home in colder months. Across Victoria, CFA crews attended 467 preventable house fires last winter – up 15 per cent on other seasons. Unattended cooking is the single biggest cause of fire in the home throughout the year, with heating-related fires up over winter. CFA areas recorded 121 chimney fires and 29 fires related to wood-fuelled heating. Preventable fires also started when clothes were left to dry too close to the heat source, in clothes dryers, and from candles. So far this season, CFA fire investigators have attended fires caused by candles left unattended

close to furniture, cooking left unattended, embers from open fireplaces falling onto carpet, and portable heaters left too close to towels. CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington warned that there was no “off-season” when it comes to fires. “Winter is a time where we’re spending more time inside keeping warm by enjoying an open fire and a home-cooked meal or cranking up the heater,” he said. “It’s also when we have to be most vigilant, as there are more residential fire risks within the house. Now is the time to check electric blankets and heaters. If there is a chance something is faulty, don’t take the risk.”

Shed fire damages house A FLINDERS house was damaged by fire when an adjoining woodshed caught fire, 8.30pm, Saturday 30 June. Sergeant Jason Hocking, of Hastings police, said the fire could have been started by a bucket of hot ashes from an earlier

CFA crews from Sorrento and Rye battled unsuccessfully to save a Portsea holiday house from fire, 2am, Sunday 1 July. The brick veneer house in Frimmell Way was destroyed in the blaze. Captain Darren Croad, of Sorrento CFA, said the cause has not been identified but an electrical fault could not be ruled out. A fire investigator had been requested to examine the scene. The blaze took 45 minutes to bring under control.

Bins set alight WHEELIE bins appeared to have been deliberately set alight in Dundas Street, Rye, early Sunday 1 July. Lieutenant Eddie Matt, of Rye CFA, said the burning bins and their rubbish had been pushed over near Glenvue Road about 2am with signs of malicious damage to bins opposite Fairhills Drive.

Car torched A CAR was set alight at the Devilbend Nature Park early Wednesday morning, 4 July. Senior Sergeant Neil Aubert, of Mornington police, said the burning Holden Barina was found in the car park off Graydens Road at 12.45am. Moorooduc CFA crews extinguished the blase. The extent of the fire made identification difficult. Detectives from Mornington Peninsula CIU said the cause of the fire was “suspicious”.




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Southern Peninsula News

10 July 2018


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