A family of six narrowly avoided death this morning after a suspected electrical fault in a touch lamp sparked a fire which burnt down their Eliot Road, Armadale home.
The father awoke to the smell of smoke about 3am in the block of four demountables his family was living in on the premises of a wrecking yard in an industrial area.
One of the four children was taken to hospital with serious smoke inhalation.
The other three children, all about 10 years of age, and the father were treated for minor smoke inhalation.
The fire caused an estimated $200,000 damage.
Armadale fire station officer Paul Paardekooper said the family were lucky to all make it out alive.
“The dad woke to the smell of the smoke,” he said
“He’s pretty adamant he saw an old touch lamp flaming up.
“He ran off to get an extinguisher to extinguish the fire but once the polystyrene in the demountables took hold he couldn’t extinguish it.
“He went to get the kids out.
“It was a good outcome in the end because the last kid didn’t respond and he had to go out of the house to get fresh air.
“So he’s made entry into the house twice while it’s full of smoke to get the kids. “The youngest one ended up in hospital with smoke inhalation and he ended up going there as well.”
Mr Paardekooper said the fire was tough to bring under control.
“The initial response was to prevent the fire spreading into the wrecking yard at the rear of it,” he said.
“The boys worked very well and prevented it from catching fire and contained it to the house.
“Then it turned into a nightmare.
“Demountables are basically polystyrene in steel sheets, with four of them combined we were just fighting a big molten plastic fire.
“It took us nearly four and a half hours to extinguish, it was a hard night’s work.”
Mr Paardekooper said the family told firefighters they had smoke alarms.
“He did say that there were smoke detectors in the home,” he said.
“Obviously we advocate for that strongly because it’s very fortunate that you wake to the smell of smoke, most people don’t wake up they just pass away.”
The children were all released from hospital by this afternoon.
Armadale mayor Henry Zelones said the city’s officers were currently investigating whether the family were allowed to be living at the wrecking yard.