Board­ers flee late-night fire

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Heather McCracken

MEN were forced to kick out win­dows and punch through doors to es­cape from a board­ing house fire on Wed­nes­day night.

The Fire Ser­vice says the blaze, which gut­ted the in­te­rior of the two-storey Kings­land build­ing, may have been de­lib­er­ately lit.

Res­i­dent Bill Mangu fled the fire by kick­ing out a small side win­dow in his bed­room and drop­ping about two me­tres to the ground.

He says he was wo­ken by a fire alarm sound­ing just af­ter 11pm.

“I got up and heard crack­ling on the other side of the door. So I slammed the door and climbed out the win­dow.

“There was all this smoke and heat. All the guys had to scarper out through the win­dows.”

One man who tried to es­cape through a back door be­came trapped when he couldn’t find the lock in the black smoke.

An­other res­i­dent punched through a glass pane in the door to free him.

All 16 men es­caped un­hurt from the blaze, but most lost all their be­long­ings.

Mr Mangu has lived in the New North Rd house for six months and was due to leave on Satur­day.

He lost his tele­vi­sion, stereo and all his clothes.

“The flames were re­ally belt­ing out,” he says.

“It was lucky all those guys got out, it just went up so quickly.”

He says a false alarm had sounded about 9.30pm on Wed­nes­day.

“When the last one went off I knew some­thing wasn’t quite right for it to go off twice in one night.”

Res­i­dents were all housed at a down­town back­pack­ers for the night.

The Fire Ser­vice says four pump trucks and one aerial fire truck were sent to the blaze.

Fire safety of­fi­cer Tony Culmer says a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion was be­ing car­ried out yes­ter­day. He says the fire started on the ground floor.

The build­ing had work­ing smoke alarms and fire alarms.

Sus­pi­cious blaze: The in­te­rior of the Kings­land Board­ing House, which was gut­ted by fire on Wed­nes­day night.

Pho­tos: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Lucky es­cape: Res­i­dent Bill Mangu kicked out a small side win­dow to es­cape from the fire at the Kings­land board­ing house.

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