Quick think­ing saves lives

South Taranaki Star - - FRONT PAGE - JANE MATTHEWS

Not long after 9.30 on an Au­gust morn­ing a house on Glover Rd filled with smoke.

In­side were two adults and three sleep­ing chil­dren. The fire started from a pan con­tain­ing hot oil that ap­peared to have been left unat­tended and the house had no smoke alarms.

Luck­ily for the oc­cu­pants, mem­bers of staff from the nearby RD1 jumped into ac­tion - fast.

Mike Fair­weather, the chief fire of­fi­cer of the Haw­era Fire Brigade, said this was the life­sav­ing fac­tor.

‘‘If it wasn’t for RD1 this would have been dis­as­trous,’’ Fair­weather said.

RD1’s David Collins was the first to spot the smoke.

‘‘I knew there was some­thing the prob­lem be­cause there was smoke com­ing out all of the win­dows,’’ he said.

Collins told his work­mates who re­acted with­out a sec­ond thought.

Store man­ager Bernard O’Sul­li­van and as­sis­tant store man­ager Brian Laursen went straight to the prop­erty while CJ Ros­siter grabbed the fire ex­tin­guisher and Jenna Schrader called 111.

‘‘When we ar­rived in there we knocked on the door and there were still peo­ple in the place,’’ O’Sul­li­van said.

‘‘Me and Brian went down and found that there was fat on the stove that had ig­nited and was start­ing to go up the wall.’’

O’Sul­li­van said the two adults were in the process of try­ing to put the fire out.

‘‘They weren’t act­ing quick enough so we kind of took di­rec­tion and cov­ered it over, ex­tin­guished the fire, got the kids out­side and just mon­i­tored it and made sure it got no worse,’’ he said.

The Haw­era Fire and Emer­gency New Zealand (FENZ) ar­rived not long after with noth­ing but praise for the RD1 team.

O’Sul­li­van was also proud of his team and their quick think­ing.

Fair­weather said this in­ci­dent high­lighted a range of haz­ards that FENZ re­minded peo­ple about reg­u­larly.

One is ‘not look­ing while you’re cook­ing’ and this in­ci­dent was a clear ex­am­ple of how leav­ing a pan unat­tended can be dan­ger­ous.

The next was the fact the house had no smoke alarms.

‘‘Smoke alarms would have alerted them and smoke alarms do save lives.’’ Fair­weather said.


The life-sav­ing Haw­era RD1 staff: (left-right) Brian Laursen, Jenna Schrader, CJ Ros­siter, Bernard O’Sul­li­van, David Collins, and Wayne Now­ell.

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