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Fire NZ warn to use electric blankets correctly after death of elderly man in house fire

Fire and Emergency New Zealand is reminding people to use heating devices correctly following the death of an elderly man in a Papakura house fire last week.

The man died in an Ardmore home early on Wednesday but the cause of the fire has not yet been confirmed, Fire and Emergency New Zealand said in a statement.

However, an electric blanket was found in a chair, which the man was known to wrap around himself to relieve lower back pain.

The remains of a second electric blanket and an electric heater were also found in the home.

Fire and Emergency NZ National Adviser Peter Gallagher said the man's death is a tragic reminder for people to take care while combating the winter chills.

"Our advice to people is observe the heater metre rule. Keep furniture, clothes and children at least one metre away from heaters and fireplaces," Mr Gallagher said.

"Electric blankets should be placed flat on beds and people should make sure that controls and cords are not twisted or caught between the mattress and the base of the bed.

"At the first sign of wear, electric blankets should be checked by a qualified electrician."

Mr Gallagher has also urged the public to ensure they have working smoke alarms.

In the past year, there have been 105 heater fires and nine electric blanket fires.



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