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Woman critical after spirit-soaked rag sparks fire

A young woman is fighting for her life in hospital after she caught on fire while cleaning her kitchen in Melbourne's north-west last night.

The 23-year-old was cooking on a gas flame while cleaning the rangehood and kitchen cupboards with a cloth soaked in methylated spirits when the cloth ignited in her St Albans home about 9pm and set her on fire.

The woman's screams alerted her brother, who ran to the kitchen and wrapped her in a blanket to extinguish the flames.

He then dragged his sister to the bathroom and put her under a cool shower before calling triple-0.

Paramedics treated the woman at the Roche Street home for burns to 30 per cent of her body, including her face, chest and legs.

She was taken to The Alfred hospital in a critical condition.


A Metropolitan Fire Brigade spokeswoman said flammable liquid should be kept well away from heat sources, such as ovens.

"Ensure that you have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket and know how to use them," the spokeswoman said.

Country Fire Authority crews were called to a separate fire that destroyed a home in St Helena, near Eltham, last night.

The blaze broke out about 9pm and destroyed the two-storey home in Covala Court. A family of four escaped uninjured.

Firefighters are yet to determine the cause of the blaze.