Dad hauled from blaze

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Heather McCracken

A BED-BOUND el­derly man has died in hospi­tal af­ter be­ing dragged from his burn­ing bed­room by his son.

Theophilus “Ted” Pear­son, 79, was res­cued from the blaze af­ter his bed­ding caught fire on Tues­day last week.

The grand­fa­ther-of-five died in Mid­dle­more Hospi­tal the fol­low­ing day, sur­rounded by fam­ily.

Mike Pear­son was home with his fa­ther at the Brit­ton Ave house when the fire be­gan about 5pm.

He was alerted by groan­ing from the older man’s bed­room.

“There was an orange glow com­ing from out of my dad’s room and some white smoke started to build up on the ceil­ing,” he says.

“I went into the room and saw him sit­ting up in bed with the bed on fire.”

Af­ter try­ing to put out the flames with wa­ter and pulling the burn­ing blan­ket off the bed, he dragged his fa­ther out­side into the drive­way.

Passersby who had seen the smoke helped give first aid and called the Fire Ser­vice.

Mr Pear­son was treated by fire­fight­ers and am­bu­lance staff for se­vere burns be­fore be­ing taken to hospi­tal.

Fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors found the blaze was started by matches Mr Pear­son used to light his pipe.

Mike says the fam­ily had tried to pre­vent him smok­ing in bed.

“My mother would make sure there was no matches or lighters avail­able to him ex­cept at smok­ing time dur­ing the day, when peo­ple were home.”

Mike had moved in with his par­ents to help care for Mr Pear­son, who was con­fined to bed fol­low­ing a long bat­tle with stom­ach can­cer.

The fam­ily were in the process of find­ing him a private hospi­tal bed.

“It would have been nice for him to pass on in a hospi­tal, and not this way,” he says.

Mike’s two sons, aged five years and six months, also lived part-time with their grand­par­ents.

The two chil­dren and Mr Pear­son’s wife He­len were not home at the time of the fire.

Mike’s wife Kim­ber­ley says most of the fam­ily’s be­long­ings, in­clud­ing chil­dren’s toys and clothes, were de­stroyed in the blaze.

But they’ve been over­whelmed by sup­port from Sal­va­tion Army cap­tains Dar­rell and Mar­i­lyn Leque at the Mt Eden Fam­ily Store.

“They’ve given us food, blan­kets, sheets and clothes,” she says.

“I’m just re­ally over­whelmed and re­ally grate­ful.”

Mr Pear­son was born in Canada but moved to Auck­land with He­len, a New Zealan­der, af­ter re­tir­ing in 1988.

His funeral was held yes­ter­day at the Davis funeral home in Mt Eden.

Fire Ser­vice se­nior sta- tion of­fi­cer Mike McE­naney says of­fi­cers gave first aid to Mr Pear­son at the scene un­til am­bu­lance staff ar­rived.

The in­te­rior of the house was gut­ted by the time four crews had the blaze un­der con­trol.

Fire Ser­vice crews went door-to-door in the Mt Roskill street last week of­fer­ing res­i­dents a free fire safety check.

Mr McE­naney says any­one who would like a free check or help in­stalling smoke alarms should ring their lo­cal fire sta­tion.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Bed­room blaze: Se­nior sta­tion of­fi­cer Mike McE­naney in­spects the dam­age at the Brit­ton Ave house.

Fam­ily man: Ted Pear­son with wife He­len.

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