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A fire was noticed on the outside deck of a single storey house in the early hours of the morning, when an occupant of the house had gotten up.

Earlier that night, the fire pit was being used on the semi-enclosed deck area located on the side of the house. It had been in use for approximately 6 hours. It was the second time this fire pit had been used on the deck. Typically it was used on the concrete driveway, but as it was getting colder it had been moved to the semi enclosed deck.

The fire had destroyed the entire deck area and had spread into the house, via the roof cavity and adjacent external openings.

The fire had occurred as the heat from the base of the fire pit had radiated to the timber deck. The timber of the deck which had been dehydrating and pyrolyzing over time each time the fire pit had been used. This caused the lowering of the autoignition temperature of the timber. This autoignition temperature of the timber had been lowered to the point where the increased radiant heat through the fire pit was enough to cause it to ignite.

When using a fire pit, it is important to ensure:

  • It is placed on a non-combustible surface such as concrete or pavers

  • It is placed in a well ventilated environment

  • Place the fire pit a considerable distance away from any structure or combustible material

  • When disposing of the ash, ensure the ash is cold before collecting it


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