An onsite investigation into a fire at an apartment in Corranderk St has attributed the cause to a smouldering cigarette setting fire to "combustible" balcony furniture.
The ACT Emergency Services Authority would not be drawn on whether the August 7 fire on the balcony of the Glebe Park apartments in Corranderrk St was Canberra's first building cladding fire.
Polyethylene-core building cladding panels are the source of significant controversy after the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire disaster n London, in which 72 people died. The aluminium cladding and the way in which it was fixed to the building were regarded as contributing factors.
Audits conducted interstate and in the ACT have revealed the widespread use of combustible cladding by builders. In the ACT, the government is in the process of reviewing the cladding on all its public buildings.
Information about cladding on private buildings has been sought from insurers and the ACT Minister for Building Quality Improvement Gordon Ramsay said that he had instructed his directorate "to work closely with insurance companies to make sure that all of that work is drawn together".
"What we know is that the mere presence of cladding in any building is not itself an issue of safety and that has been made clear in this jurisdiction and other jurisdictions," Mr Ramsay said.
ESA assessed the intense balcony fire as one which was caused by a smouldering cigarette "igniting a cloth covered sofa which spread to other combustible furniture on the balcony".
Vision taken of the incident from ground level is indeterminate.
Some of the major issues with combustible cladding is the intense heat and toxic smoke which is produced but ESA says that "fires in domestic settings are hazards that firefighters deal with routinely".
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