An Adelaide family who lost their home after a fire started by dodgy Christmas lights has a warning: be careful what you buy online.
An Adelaide family who lost their home after a fire started by dodgy Christmas lights has a warning: be careful what you buy online.

Faulty Christmas lights spark fire that destroyed home

Christmas will be very different for Michael, Ellen, and their four children this year after they lost everything in a fire last month.

The fire - believed to be sparked by a faulty adaptor for LED string lights, purchased online - has sparked warning from authorities to purchase electrical goods with an Australian regulatory compliance mark only.

The lights were not turned on, but plugged in at the wall.

The Ingle Farm family were helping their friends move a couch on November 1 - but when they returned home hours later, their house was alight.

Ellen Noble said she dropped to the ground when she saw the smoke coming from their home.

The kids’ bedroom where the fire started by Christmas lights they bought online. Picture: Tricia Watkinson
The kids’ bedroom where the fire started by Christmas lights they bought online. Picture: Tricia Watkinson

"I just wailed and wailed, just that helplessness, its really overwhelming," Ms Noble said.

"Looking at the damage throughout the house, not just that room (the fire started in), there's nothing in the house that hasn't been touched, everything is pretty well ruined."

The family, including her fiance, Michael Kernick, and children, Bria, 19. Lacey, 10, Hudson, 7, and Archie, 11 months, warned families to make sure they purchase electrical items with verified Australian compliance, to save them facing a similar fate.

Ms Noble said she bought three sets of the lights on eBay to hang in her children's bedrooms.

"There were $20 ones or there were $90 ones, and we bought the $90 ones, we thought we were buying the better-quality ones … but I'll never do it again.

"Our life will never be the same. We're just looking at the positives, that we're alive.

 

The safety sign and an example of the electrical equipment that caused massive fire damage house in Ingle Farm. Picture: Tricia Watkinson
The safety sign and an example of the electrical equipment that caused massive fire damage house in Ingle Farm. Picture: Tricia Watkinson

The family are staying in a two-bedroom emergency housing property, and will have to rent a property for at least a year before their home's interior is fully repaired.

Metropolitan Fire Service community engagement officer Angelo Mastripolito said heading into Christmas, people needed to ensure their electrical online purchases were properly verified.

"If you're going to be buying electrical items overseas and online, make sure that these items have the Australian regulatory compliance mark," Mr Mastripolito said.

"If you can't verify that it has this mark, our advice is, don't purchase it, it's not worth the risk."

 

 

Originally published as Faulty Christmas lights spark fire that destroyed family's home



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