Dad hauled from blaze
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.
Bedroom blaze: Senior station officer Mike McEnaney inspects the damage at the Britton Ave house.
Family man: Ted Pearson with wife Helen.