The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service is currently investigating the fire involving an oil tank, which then spread to the bungalow, situated in a row of terraced houses.
With nearly 70% of households in Northern Ireland using oil as their main heating source, householders are advised to ensure fire safety is given due consideration when it comes to installing and protecting oil tanks.
As well as the human risk, an unprotected oil tank can cause substantial damage to property if set alight. Government statistics estimate the average cost of damage caused by a house fire is £25,000. To avoid the risks, OFTEC advises that householders should have their oil tank and fittings inspected by a suitably-qualified competent person at least once a year to check for leaks, damage or defects
“This recent fire highlights the very real threat of unprotected oil tanks and we are strongly urging householders to review the positioning of their oil tank and if necessary, to take action,” said OFTEC’s David Blevings.
“Oil is a very safe fuel, provided it is stored correctly. Tank fires have the potential to be extremely dangerous and, as sadly highlighted in this case, to substantially damage properties. The best way to protect yourself and others is to make sure an oil tank and any oil burning appliances are inspected and serviced by an OFTEC registered technician at least once a year.”
“During a service, an OTFEC technician will look at the tank to ensure that fire separation distances have been met,” explained David.
“If minimum separation distances from properties and boundaries can’t be met, for example, in a small rear yard, the placement of fire safety panel(s) with a minimum 30-minute fire-resistant wall which extends at least 300mm above and beyond the ends of an oil tank can offer suitable protection. Should fire occur, the fitting of a fire panel can be instrumental in halting the fire’s spread.”