A man has died while trying to fight a suspected battery fire that broke out in a home in Sydney’s southwest.
Emergency services were called to the home on Highclere Ave in Punchbowl at around 10pm on Saturday after receiving reports of a fire.
A unit was found to be on fire upon arrival and the blaze was later extinguished by Fire and Rescue NSW.
An unconscious man aged 54 was pulled out of the unit by authorities who were unable to revive him. He died at the scene.
The man was found with soot around his nose and mouth.
Fire and Rescue NSW’s Andrew Shurety said the man likely died after inhaling smoke and toxic gases.
FRNSW are still investigating the cause of the fire but Mr Shurety noted that four lithium-ion batteries were found upstairs.
“Battery fires can start quickly and burn with extreme heat, and are difficult to extinguish,” Mr Shurety said.
Three people were on the lower floor of the home when the fire broke out, with two escaping after discovering the blaze.
The man is believed to have taken a fire extinguisher upstairs in a “futile attempt” to put out the blaze according to Mr Shurety.
“I don't think people realise a fire extinguisher is not going to extinguish a blaze of that size,” he said.
“Our firefighters do not enter these premises without breathing apparatuses.
“The risk is, if you go into a smoke environment it only takes a couple of breaths of this toxic gas that you can be unconscious and on the floor.”
Parts of the unit’s exterior were blackened by the flames which seemingly burst through several windows of the townhouse.
Police have since established a crime scene and are currently investigating the cause of the fire.
Anyone with information regarding the blaze has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers of Bankstown Police.