Australia

Fire fatalities spark Tas safety message

Tasmania's fire authority wants locals to take extra care following two deaths at homes within a week, with the risk of fires rising as people try to stay warm.

The death of an elderly woman in her home and a man found dead in a razed garage have prompted Tasmania's fire authority to urge locals to be extra safe indoors.

Tasmania Fire Services acting community fire safety director Chris Collins said the risk of fires in the home increased in winter as people tried to heat the premises.

"Tasmanians have been shocked by the two recent fire fatalities we have had within the past week. These matters are serious and tragic," Mr Collins said.

With an average of 2.5 fire fatalities per year over the past four years, the southern state has one of the highest rates of fire fatalities per capita, the service states.

A 90-year-old woman died on Wednesday after a wheat-filled heat pack alighted in the microwave and caused the house to go up in flames.

A 61-year-old man died a few days earlier in a Swansea garage he called home.

"TFS responds to between 500 and 600 structure fires per year, and while we can go some years without a fire fatality when they do occur, they affect families, communities, and first responders deeply," Mr Collins said.

"That is why we must learn from these tragedies and work together as a community to ensure we are all safe, especially those in the community who are most vulnerable such as the elderly."

Installing smoke alarms, creating a home fire escape plan, and safely using electrical and heating are among the steps to prevent fires or leave alive, he added.

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