Five serious fires in Hunter region in four days, Fire and Rescue NSW urges winter fire safety

Gutted: The fire at Muswellbrook on Wednesday morning. Picture: Fire and Rescue NSW
Gutted: The fire at Muswellbrook on Wednesday morning. Picture: Fire and Rescue NSW

People in the Upper Hunter are being urged to remember the importance of winter fire safety, after five serious blazes across the region in four days - one claiming the life of a 55-year-old man, three others destroying homes and another leaving an elderly woman in hospital.

A fire that broke out just before 4am on Wednesday gutted a home on Adam Street at Muswellbrook.

Firefighters spent two hours extinguishing the blaze. No-one was injured, but the home was destroyed.

Later in the morning, an 83-year-old woman was taken to John Hunter Hospital in a stable condition after suffering burns to her face and hands in a kitchen fire at a home in the Lake Macquarie suburb of Brightwaters about 10am.

Wednesday's incidents came after a fire ripped through a house on Merriwa Street at Booragul about 11am on Tuesday.

The lone person at the home escaped without injury, but firefighters were unable to save the property.

Fire investigators at Stockton on Monday morning after the body of Graham Cameron was found. Picture: Simone De Peak

Fire investigators at Stockton on Monday morning after the body of Graham Cameron was found. Picture: Simone De Peak

In the most tragic case during the spike in incidents, Stockton resident Graham Cameron died in the early hours of Monday morning. His single-bedroom unit - one of five ground level flats - became an inferno about 5am.

Mr Cameron's neighbours escaped - though multiple units were damaged - and the 55-year-old's body was found inside the ruins of the home.

The run of incidents began on Sunday, when a family escaped a burning two storey house at Shortland in the early hours of the morning - the blaze destroyed the home.

It is understood that investigators are yet to determine the causes of the fires.

Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Greg Windeatt said it was always vital to have a working smoke alarm in the home and, particularly in winter, it was important not to leave food unattended on stove tops, not place flammable items anywhere near heaters and ensure electric blankets were not crumpled or damaged.

While he would not comment specifically on the causes that were still under investigation from this week, Superintendent Windeatt said the spike reflected a seasonal trend.

"Winter is, for house fires, traditionally the busy period of the year," he said.

"That is the seasonal thing that has been happening for many years."

Fire and Rescue NSW advocates the use of a checklist to ensure people are being fire-safe in winter.

Aside from what Superintendent Windeatt mentioned, the list also includes having an escape plan in place in case of a house fire, making sure fireplaces and chimneys have been properly serviced by a qualified person and that necessary screens are in place.

It also warns against overloading power boards with heaters and says electric and gas heaters should be checked before use.

This story Firefighters urge winter safety after five bad fires in four days first appeared on Muswellbrook Chronicle.