Firefighters urge caution after busy night

Andi Yu

Melbourne firefighters are urging residents to stay vigilant about fire safety after their busiest night this winter.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade has responded to five major house fires across the Victorian capital since 2pm on Friday.

Crews have been spread across the city fighting and investigating the causes of blazes in Macleod, Clayton South, Viewbank and two homes in Sunshine West.

The Macleod fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical appliance, while the fire at Clayton South started from a faulty refrigerator.

MFB Assistant Chief Fire Officer Martin Braid said all Victorians should take extra care, especially while they use more electrical appliances to keep warm.

"Most of the house fires we attend can be prevented, and as we have seen over the course of the evening, lives can be saved thanks to working smoke alarms," he said.

MFB recommends the following safety steps:

- Make sure smoke alarms are in good working order.

- Ensure all electrical appliances including heaters and power boards are kept in good working order and replaced if damaged.

- Know your fire escape plan and practise it regularly.

- Never leave cooking unattended and keep cooking areas free from built-up grease, dust and oil.

- Keep drying clothes and other items at least one metre away from all heaters.

- Extinguish cigarettes, candles, incense and oil burners before leaving home or going to bed.

- Make sure your fireplace has a fireguard to prevent sparks and embers from entering the living area, and regularly clean and maintain the flue and chimney.