A family who had to flee their Dapto home after it caught fire in the early hours of Monday morning has urged people to consider installing smoke alarms in their roof cavities.
The four occupants – a man, a woman and their two young children – managed to escape the fire without injury as flames ripped through the house on Coronet Place.
Two dogs were also saved from the fire, the intensity of which caused the roof of the double-brick house to collapse.
Emergency services were alerted to the fire about 5.30am and arrived to find the house well alight.
Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) crews extinguished the fire, but not before it spread through the much of the house and caused significant damage.
Items inside that weren’t destroyed by the fire were left water-damaged, the owners – who preferred not to be identified – told the Mercury.
The couple also told how quickly the flames took hold and said they were thankful nobody was injured.
“We heard the fire before we heard the alarm,” one of the owners said, adding the alarm didn’t go off until flames were already spreading throughout the house.
Lake Illawarra police are investigating the fire, which is understood to have started in the roof cavity.
In a statement, police investigators appealed for anyone with information about the fire to call Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.
The Dapto incident came on the back of a number of fires at residential and business properties across the Illawarra in recent months – including a spate of incidents during September.
On September 4, flames ripped through an auto repairs workshop and adjacent car parts business at Warrawong, while a furniture shop on Flinders Street in Wollongong was also destroyed by fire the same day.
Elsewhere, a passerby frantically door-knocked neighbours and an off-duty firefighter tried desperately to gain entry as fire engulfed a West Wollongong home on September 7.
A unit fire, on Crown Street in Wollongong, saw three police officers taken to hospital with smoke inhalation on September 10, while 16 puppies perished in a unit fire at Warrawong on September 27.
More recently, multiple FRNSW crews and dozens of Rural Fire Service volunteers were called upon to tackle grass fires at Port Kembla and Dapto on November 5.