Spontaneous combustion threatens Long Gully home

Firefighters worked quickly to save a Long Gully house from fire after a pile of green waste “spontaneously combusted” yesterday.

CFA senior station officer Craig Houlahan said the CFA attended a property on Eaglehawk Road just before midday after initial reports of a house fire.

“Three appliances and eight crew from Bendigo responded and once we got on the scene we found the fire was in a large area of tree tops that had been piled up,” Mr Houlahan said.

“The fire had spread to adjoining properties and threatened one house.

“Luckily firefighters managed to contain the fire and stop it spreading into that house.

“Three firefighters with breathing apparatus were able to contain the fire to its area of origin in about 15 minutes.”

Mr Houlahan said the fire was not suspicious and it had started by “spontaneous combustion”.

“What happens is the bacteria actually breaks down and adds heat and energy until it gets to temperatures of up to 200 degrees Celsius,” he said.

“You can get that even in lawn clippings in the right conditions.

“We were fortunate it was a mild day and not a day with high winds.”

Mr Houlahan said the fire had started on an empty lot where piles of chipped wood had been piled up.

“CFA advises people with piles of rubbish, wood chips or freshly cut grass to ensure the piles get checked for heat,” he said.

Meanwhile, police are investigating a small fire which they think was deliberately lit at the BMX track in Strathfieldsaye.

Police believe an unknown youth attended the track on Club Court and lit a fire in a pre-existing campfire.

A passer-by called the CFA and the fire was immediately put out.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Senior Constable Robert Bennett at the Bendigo police station on 5448 1300.

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