Owner escapes house fire through window

IN a street lined with well- maintained homes and gardens, number 30 Goya Road Newnham was a standout.

But its owner is lucky to be alive after the home was destroyed by an accidental fire yesterday morning.

The man was forced to escape the residence through his bedroom window after being awoken by smoke alarms just after 1am.

The Tasmanian Fire Service is treating the narrow escape as a timely reminder of fire danger with winter on the way.

Investigators have determined the fire started after flammable materials placed too close to the wood heater in the home's lounge room ignited.

One neighbour described the scene as horrifying.

"The whole house was engulfed," she said.

"It was amazing how quickly it took hold. It was just a mass of orange."

She said the sole occupant of the home was extremely dedicated to the property's upkeep.

"It's such a shame - he certainly takes pride in his house," she said.

"It makes you stop and think about your own safety."

Eight firefighters fought the fire which took some time to contain due to its intensity.

The service estimated the fire caused $300,000 damage.

Rocherlea fire station officer Danny Guy said people should begin checking their smoke alarms and remember to never place combustible items within two metres of a heater.

"There's no doubt that people are going to start lighting up wood heaters and starting to use heaters," he said.

"Before they start them up it's a good idea to get them serviced or check them if they are able to do so."

Officer Guy said people should also make sure flues are clean and check electric blankets before using them.

Yesterday, fire service vehicles attended a vegetation fire at Loira about 3pm. The blaze covered about five hectares of a paddock on Rookery Road. The cause was unknown.

More information on fire safety can be found at http:/ /www.fire.tas.gov.au/

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