'These sorts of things can happen to anybody' - Kiwis urged to check dehumidifiers after spike in fires

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The Fire Service are warning Kiwis to check appliances before plugging them in this winter, in the wake of three fires linked to dehumidifiers in the past week.

As cold weather sets in the Fire Service are urging the public to be vigilant as a spike in appliance fires is expected.
Source: 1 NEWS

It's a call reinforced by one family who say they're lucky to be alive.

It was a nightmare end to an eight year stay in New Zealand for one Canadian family.

"If these smoke detectors hadn't had working batteries in them, the outcome could have been much much worse," said house fire victim, Kristen Liesch.

"I'm glad we're alive," said house fire victim, Brandon Goodley.

The alarms alerted them to a fire in the dining room, triggering their escape from the Auckland home they'd arrived to house sit only hours earlier.

"When the smoke alarms were going off I quickly jumped out of bed and went down the hallway and saw glowing under one of the doors that was closed," said Mr Goodley.

 The Fire Service says the cause of the devastating blaze appear to be an electrical fault in a dehumidifier that was left on.

"The appliances you need to look out for particularly coming into the colder period of the year are heaters dehumidifiers electric blankets fire places - open and closed - and clothes dryers," said fire risk management advisor, Glenn Menzies.

"These sorts of things can happen to anybody, it doesn't discriminate against where you are from where you are located. If you've got anything like these appliances you need to be vigilant," he said.  

A dehumidifier's also the suspected culprit in a fire near Mount Roskill last week and a third fire that is under investigation.

The Fire Service is used to seeing spikes in appliance fires as cold weather sets in.

Last moth saw 67 house fires ignited by chimneys, heating appliances and dryers.

Nearly 70 per cent more fires than March and May to date.

Worksafe New Zealand says all appliances should be cleaned and have filters replaced at the start of winter and dehumidifiers need to be handled with special care because internal parts like rotor blades can get jammed and catch fire.

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