Thursday, February 7th, 2013
The peak Australian electrical industry body, the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), is warning residents across Australia to make sure their lights are installed correctly following a devastating house fire in Western Australia which very nearly ended in tragedy.

The fire, which is believed to have been caused by a ceiling downlight coming into contact with insulation in the roof space, caused damage estimated at close to a $1 million to a house in Darch in Perth’s northern suburbs and came close to claiming the lives of a young family who fortunately managed to escape moments before the roof collapsed.

“This horrendous fire, which could have easily had an even more tragic outcome, illustrates the importance of making sure your lights are installed correctly by a licensed electrician,” said NECA’s Chief Executive Officer James Tinslay.

“This is particularly important for ceiling downlights in close proximity to insulation in the roof. We have already seen a spate of house fires all around Australia following the Government’s failed Home Insulation Program which were caused by dangerous or faulty installation of insulation coming into contact with downlights. If you are planning to get insulation installed we cannot emphasise enough the importance of using a properly trained insulation installer and an inspection by a licensed electrician.”

NECA was the first organisation to warn the Federal Government about the potential dangers of the Home Insulation Program without the proper checks and balances in place. While repairs to the problems caused by the program are nearing completion the fact is that insulation covering electrical equipment, particularly downlights, provide a high likelihood of fire and are an extreme danger to householders. Lights and insulation are often not installed at the same time and retrofitting either can or does create fire risks.

“Downlights simply cannot be covered by insulation as they become a source of ignition in a surprisingly short period of time,” said Mr Tinslay.

“Thermal insulation can also be accidently shifted by a householder in the roof space, by work being undertaken in ceiling space or by animals such as possums. If residents have any doubts a licensed electrician should be engaged to ensure that downlights have suitable covers or barriers to prevent thermal insulation creating a fire risk for the household.”

Other safety measures which can be taken to avoid tragedy is to have a safety switch installed if you do not already have one and to get your electrical wiring inspected if you live in an older home.


Contact Profile

Peter Scott - Media and Communications Manager

P: 02 9439 8523
M: 0457 767 328


downlights, fire, insulation, dangerous, electrical



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