Fire fright­ens neigh­bours

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By KARINA ABADIA

A house fire in Block­house Bay could have been worse if it wasn’t for the ef­forts of some fast act­ing neigh­bours.

Fire­fight­ers were alerted to the blaze on Trinidad Rd at 10.42am on Thurs­day.

The rear of the sin­gle storey house was well in­volved when two units ar­rived. It took about 10 min­utes to con­trol the fire, Avon­dale se­nior sta­tion of­fi­cer Gary Lane says.

‘‘We con­tained the burn­ing to one bed­room. How­ever, there was ex­ten­sive heat dam­age. It was just for­tu­nate that no one was home.’’

An­gela Chan­dra was next door when her house guest spot­ted the smoke bil­low­ing over the roof of the neigh­bour­ing prop­erty.

She rang emer­gency ser­vices and her hus­band Anil, who rushed home to help.

He grabbed his gar­den hose and pointed it over the fence.

‘‘I was shocked. The fire was spread­ing to­wards my house and there was no way I was go­ing to let it come here,’’ he says.

Another neigh­bour Jessie Phillips, 20, was in her back­yard when she spot­ted the smoke. She too di­alled 111 and her fa­ther ran next door to check no-one was in­side.

‘‘While we were wait­ing for the fire en­gines it got worse. I heard the win­dows smash­ing and I could see the flames ac­tu­ally com­ing out of the win­dows.’’

Then they no­ticed that the neigh­bour’s pet rot­tweiler was in the back gar­den. ‘‘It barks at ev­ery­thing but it wasn’t bark­ing. It was just sit­ting there and it wouldn’t move so my dad had to go and bring it to our side.’’

The fire was a ter­ri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, she says.

‘‘I was in Christchurch when they had the first earth­quake. This was just as scary be­cause it was so close. It’s right next door. It could eas­ily have spread here.’’

The fire is be­ing treated as sus­pi­cious and in­ves­ti­ga­tions are on­go­ing, se­nior fire in­ves­ti­ga­tor Mike McE­naney says.

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to watch a video of the fire.

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