Victim of Stawell house fire recovering in Alfred Hospital

ABLAZE: A man is recovering at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne after his boat caught fire on Wednesday at Stawell. PICTURE: Peter Pickering
ABLAZE: A man is recovering at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne after his boat caught fire on Wednesday at Stawell. PICTURE: Peter Pickering

A man, 66, who suffered burns to his hands and head during a house fire on Sharpley Avenue on Wednesday has recovered from the ordeal at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne. 

Wayne Watson was driven to the hospital by his friend Jim Hosken on Thursday.

Mr Hosken said his friend planned to stay for three days to recover from the incident which was caused by petrol vapours in the air which interacted with the motor of a cordless drill Mr Watson was using while he put screws into the floor of his boat.

“He had wanted to go on a fishing trip and refueled his boat at Stawell’s BP petrol station before bringing the boat back to his Sharpley Avenue residence,” he said.

“He backed the boat into the garage and went to put some screws into the floor of the boat using a cordless drill when the fumes from the petrol seemed to spark with the drill’s motor and cause an explosion.

“Petrol vapours can be extremely volatile and people need to be made aware of how easily this has happened.”

Mr Hosken also said two jerry cans and a nearby 60-litre fuel tank could have contributed to the blaze.

“People may not realise that this could be a source for ignition, but it is and it can happen so easily, he is lucky he did not lose his life,” he said.

Mr Hosken said the fire fortunately did not spread into the home.

“The windows broke as a result of the heat from the fire which was then intercepted by the cold water used by fire authorities,” he said.

Mr Watson suffered minor burns to his face and blisters and burns to his hands.

Ararat Country Fire Authority operations manager Bernie Fradd said the tasks people deem as safe and simple could be triggers or ignition sources and care must be taken at all times.

“Especially in warmer weather or when the temperature rises simple things that we do on a day to day basis could be a fire risk,” he said.

“We urge people to take extreme care when around any flammable liquids with power tools or any object that has potential to be a trigger.

“During the fire danger period it is important for locals to look out for their neighbours and ensure all flammables are kept in a designated area and away from any ignition points.”

An incident alert was issued by VIC Emergency just after the fire started at midday on Wednesday warning smoke was visible in the area, but there was no immediate threat to communities.

​Stawell Country Fire Authority, police and Ambulance Victoria attended the scene. Ararat, Great Western and Halls Gap fire brigades were requested for help but called back after the fire was deemed safe.


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