FIRE crews believe a candle was the cause of a fire that severely damaged a Calala home on Tuesday night.
Emergency services received numerous Triple-0 calls to reports a fire had taken hold of a house in Hibiscus Way, just before 8.30pm.
On arrival, Fire and Rescue NSW crews reported heavy smoke had filled the home with initial fears the occupants could still be inside.
Zone Superintendent Tom Cooper told The Leader crews in four fire trucks managed to extinguish the blaze within 20 minutes.
He said 30 per cent of the home was destroyed by the fire and praised the quick response of crews to the blaze, who happened to be already out on a training exercise at the time of the emergency call.
“One hundred per cent of the home was damaged by smoke,” Superintendent Cooper said.
“Firefighters were actually doing a training drill on incident management at the time.
Across the state we get called to ten house fires a day.
“This was an opportunity for them to test [their skills] out.
“When they arrived smoke was down to almost floor level and firefighters immediately went into offensive firefighting strategy and did a search and rescue of the home.”
Superintendent Cooper said crews managed to contain the fire to the laundry area.
“The people who lived at the house weren’t home at the time, but they did come home during the fire,” he said.
He said firefighters had determined the cause of the blaze to be a candle left alight in the laundry.
The fire chief said Tuesday night’s blaze was the first of many call outs firefighters were expecting in Tamworth as the weather cools down.
“It’s a good warning coming into winter to make sure you do not leave candles unattended and make sure you have a working smoke alarm,” Superintendent Cooper said.
“Between May and September is Fire and Rescue NSW’s busiest time of the year.
“Across the state we get called to ten house fires a day and in the colder months you see an increase in fires during that period.”
Superintendent Cooper said Fire and Rescue NSW is gearing up to launch a winter fire safety campaign in May.
It will focus on fire safety around cooking, heaters and overloaded power points.