Firefighters have saved a Wagga TAFE building after an evaporative cooler ignited on Friday.
While no one was injured, the incident has prompted a timely reminder for residents to have their units properly serviced before the start of summer.
Andrew Cochrane, from PalmAir Heating and Cooling Specialists, said there was a difference between having coolers “checked” or “cleaned” and having them properly serviced.
“You need to have the pump, motor and electrical components checked over too,” Mr Cochrane said.
“So make sure you are paying for a licensed air conditioner and refrigerator mechanic.”
He said a number of businesses on Facebook advertised evaporative cooler checks, but often they would just take it apart and clean it.
Mr Cochrane said a summer service would help ensure their safety and efficiency.
His words follow Friday’s incident, which TAFE NSW said was still under investigation.
Crews from Turvey Park Fire and Rescue NSW had rushed to Coleman Street, after an automatic fire alarm was triggered at about 1pm.
Leading firefighter John Marzol said members had entered G Block to find light filling the rooms – the source turned out to be the evaporative air conditioning unit on the roof.
“There was thick black smoke billowing from the roof,” Mr Marzol said. “At this stage, it seems to have been triggered by an electrical fault.”
They joined members of Wagga’s retained fire station, who helped evacuate about 20 students from the building. Thankfully no one was injured, according to paramedics.
Donning breathing apparatuses, two firefighters then climbed onto the roof to fight the flames and stop the fire from spreading.
“The cooler is completely destroyed,” Mr Marzol said. “But we cut it off before it did any damage inside the building.”
TAFE NSW later confirmed all staff and students, learning English as a foreign language, were safely evacuated.