Man nearly burned alive in bed
Daniel De Gabrielle still has to unplug everything in his house that's electrical otherwise he can't sleep.
The 34-year-old is haunted by the night his electric blanket went up in flames - while he was still in the bed - last winter.
Mr De Gabrielle returned home from work and was staying in the guest room of his four-bedroom apartment in Melbourne because he was planning to move that weekend.
Originally from Canada and used to central heating, he had no idea about how to use electric blankets and was none the wiser when he tucked himself into bed with "multiple blankets" keeping him warm.
"At some point in the night one of them short-circuited and the bed was on fire, I was on fire, it was about 7am in the morning," he told news.com.au.
"I wasn't wearing any clothes at the time, thankfully, because the firefighters said I would be dead if I was.
"Because I don't know much about fire safety, I kept trying to put water on it to put it out and the flames just kept coming back, I just wasn't registering."
Mr De Gabrielle said he picked up the bed while it was still on fire and dragged it out of the house.
By that stage the rest of the house caught fire and Mr De Gabrielle and his partner lost everything inside.
Mr De Gabrielle spent two weeks in hospital with second degree burns to 20 per cent of his body.
He said it was lucky his partner's family had not been staying in the guest bedroom at the time as had been the case in the past.
"We were very lucky none of them were using that at the time," he said.
"It just caught fire, no problem."
Allianz Australia said it received more than 400 fire claims on average during winter, many of which were caused by ignition inside the home due to things like electric blankets and heaters.
It said there were more home fire claims than weather-related fire claims throughout the year, with Victoria and South Australia the standout states as having the highest volume of fire claims during winter.
Mr De Gabrielle said after reading many horror stories in Australia, he swore he would never use an electric blanket but then naively did.
"I didn't know anything about it," he said.
"Definitely turn it off if you're sleeping. It's like an oven - you need to turn it off when you're not in the house or else you might not have a house to come back to.
"It's one of those things you never think is going to happen to you, then when it does, it's so surreal.
"People just don't think. You think you're invincible."
Allianz expert Rachael Poole warned people not to overload power boards and suggested turning electric blankets on 30 minutes before getting into bed and switching them off once in bed.
"Check electric blankets for damage or frayed cords before placing one on the bed," she said.
"Keep curtains, tablecloths and bedding away from electric and oil heaters."
Her warning comes after heroic neighbours risked their lives to save a Singleton family from a house fire that killed three children.
Twin girls Matylda and Scarlett, 6, and their brother Blake, 12, died in the blaze at their Brittliffe Close home early last Wednesday morning.
Their mother Kara Atkins 31, and sister Bayley, 8, survived the blaze.
Emergency services praised the bravery of neighbours, who were woken by screams and banging, and tried to help the family get out of the burning home.
Neighbours tried to assist the firefighting effort, dousing the flames with their garden hoses.