Fire a re­minder to check bat­ter­ies

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - NEWS - Jac­inta Can­ta­tore

A Wa­roona cou­ple is lucky to be alive af­ter es­cap­ing a house fire on Septem­ber 28 thanks to a call of na­ture.

Af­ter go­ing to bed at about mid­night on Thurs­day, Ken Landwehr woke at 3am to go to the bath­room, only to find the house filled with heavy smoke.

The liv­ing room was on fire, block­ing any easy exit from the house and the smoke was so thick Mr Landwehr had to feel his way to the front door. “I thought I was go­ing to die,” he said.

He and his wife Mary Ann ran out of the house but they lost each other in the smoke and wound up ex­it­ing through dif­fer­ent doors, each think­ing the other was right be­hind them.

“We lost each other for about five min­utes,” Mr Landwehr said.

Once re­united the cou­ple di­alled 000 and the Wa­roona Vol­un­teer Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vice re­sponded within min­utes.

“The worst part is we had smoke alarms but the bat­ter­ies were flat,” Mr Landwehr said.

Ser­vice cap­tain John Twad­dle, who helped put out the blaze, said af­ter five years of no house fires the bri­gade had at­tended three within the past week.

The fire at the Landwehr’s prop­erty caused about $100,000 dam­age and was hot enough to melt an air con­di­tioner unit, kitchen ex­haust and clock off the wall.

“It might only be a lit­tle fire, but it can make one hell of a mess,” Mr Twad­dle said.

Once the blaze was ex­tin­guished, Mr Landwehr said he was in shock and was wor­ried about stay­ing in the house in the dark.

Mr Twad­dle lent him his torch, which Mr Landwehr re­turned to him last week.

The bri­gade cap­tain urged other res­i­dents to main­tain their smoke alarms be­cause they might not wake up dur­ing a blaze.

“Put new bat­ter­ies in on April 1 each year to be sure they are al­ways work­ing,” Mr Twad­dle said.

Pic­ture: Jac­inta Can­ta­tore

Caitlin and Ken Landwehr give Wa­roona Vol­un­teer Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices cap­tain John Twad­dle back his flash light.

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