Quick thinking saves lives
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.