Office block on fire in Pinetown a warning to all business owners

Just before 7am this morning black bellowing smoke could be seen around the Pinetown area because of a 1st floor office block at the corners of Anderson Road and Union Lane was engulfed in flames. ER24 and Pinetown Fire Department arrived on the scene and found the first floor engulfed in flames. The Fire Department were able to detaining the fire to the first floor and to the back of the office area.

No injuries were reported on the scene but the necessary authorities would be investigating the cause of the fire. Well done to the Pinetown Fire Department for such a incredible job.

Derrick Banks, ER24

Preventing Household and Business Fire

ER24 has provided several suggestions to prevent fire at home and business and we would like to share some of these. Even though they are focused pn preventing fire at home, many of these suggestions would also apply to fire at the place of business:

Accidental fires are just that – an accident. There are however, a number of ways to prevent a fire starting accidentally in your home or business. It starts with having the knowledge of possible causes of fires, and being aware of seemingly harmless objects in your home or business that could ignite and lead to a fire.

It is not to say that every aspect of the home / business is a potential fire hazard, but it is advised to maintain a high index of suspicion when it comes to any form of electrical appliance, gas and open heat source being used.

Sources of Fire

The most probable sources of a potential fire inside the home could come from any of the following, but is not limited to these few that are mentioned:

• Frayed electrical wires on appliances
• Burning candles
• Heaters/electric blankets
• Cigarette/cigar/tobacco pipe embers
• Fire places
• Gas leaks followed by a spark igniting
• Children playing with matches
• Burning oil on a stovetop

Most of these though would need to be accelerated by another source, for example a roll of toilet tissue near a heater grill may ignite and start a fire. It is therefore very important to keep the area around any of these potential fire hazards mentioned above clear. Don’t leave any heater/heated appliance or open flame burning while you leave the room.

Synthetic materials are widely used in household furniture. This material is highly flammable and will burn quickly once set alight. Keep open flames or embers away from foam matrasses, stuffed couches, curtains and carpets. These usually also cover a wide surface area and will be the cause of other maybe less flammable objects to catch alight.

Preventing Fire at Home

Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to a fire possibly breaking out in your house:

• DO buy a small fire extinguisher from a reputable dealer to keep in your home – note the correct way to use it
• DO familiarise yourself with emergency numbers in the event of a fire and medical emergency
• DO take note of warnings on selected appliances – do not cover heaters
• DO check electrical cables regularly for damage
• DON’T leave the room where a candle is burning, heater is on, fire in the fire place is still burning fiercely, oil is on heat atop the stove etc.
• DON’T pack personal belongings before leaving the house in the event of a fire
• DON’T try and put an oil fire in the kitchen out with water
• DON’T open a closed door of a room suspected to be on fire.
• DON’T enter a room that is on fire
• DON’T re-enter the home once you have exited away from the fire
• DO stay low to the ground when exiting a smoke filled room. Smoke will rise and staying low will minimise the potential for inhalation injuries.
• DO cover your nose and mouth with a (moist) cloth. This also minimises the inhalation of smoke by breathing through a barrier.
• DO exit the burning building as soon and as safely as possible.
• DO extinguish cigarettes/Cigars and Pipe Tobacco in the appropriate manor

Unfortunately, having a smoke detector and alarm in each room of the house is not common practise in South Africa but it should be encouraged. These somewhat simple devices are inexpensive and are easy to install. Have them checked and make sure that the batteries are kept charged.

A general rule to follow is to stay as far away from an uncontrolled open flame as possible.

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