Electric blanket to blame: lucky escape for Torpy Street fire victim

FIRE RISK: Gavin Cochrane will never own another electric blanket after an appliance appeared to cause a fire in his Torpy Street home on Friday. Photo: LUKE SCHUYLER.0517lsfire1

FIRE RISK: Gavin Cochrane will never own another electric blanket after an appliance appeared to cause a fire in his Torpy Street home on Friday. Photo: LUKE SCHUYLER.0517lsfire1

A TORPY Street resident who was taken to hospital on Friday evening after a fire at his home has warned against using electric blankets.

Gavin Cochrane, 31, was treated for smoke inhalation and said he would never own an electric blanket again.

"It wasn't a cheap one or anything like that," he said.

"If we were sleeping in there, we would have woken up in flames - why are they allowed to be on sale?"

Mr Cochrane's partner had been ill that day, spending most of it in bed.

He later collected Mr Cochrane from work and lay down on the couch, but it was not until Mr Cochrane started cooking dinner when he realised something was amiss.

"The light flickered and went out and when I looked up, I noticed smoke," he said.

"I followed the smoke and the whole bed was an inferno."

Following his instinct to extinguish the flames, he rushed to find a hose only to find the smoke had thickened.

"There was a huge cloud of black smoke - I couldn't see a thing and I couldn't breathe," he said.

He managed to close the bedroom door, drop to the ground and escape - he was later rushed to hospital and released that night.

Orange Fire and Rescue station manager Matt Jeffery said the brigade received a call at 5pm and fire crews were on the scene six minutes later.

"The damage was limited to the contents of the bedroom because the residents were really quick to phone Triple-0 and we were quick to get to work," he said.

Firefighters entered the home with breathing equipment and thermal imaging cameras to extinguish the flames.

Mr Jeffery said the cause of the fire was still under investigation, but the electric blanket appeared to be the cause.

With residents unpacking electric blankets in time for winter, he said storage was important.

"When you store them, roll them, don't fold them," he said.

"If you have stored them over summer, visually inspect them for damage - you can get an electrician to inspect them or you can buy a new one." 

He said further investigations would reveal whether a particular batch of blankets was faulty.

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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