Lit­tle ‘‘Mango’ house’’ goes up in flames

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - PHILLIPA YALDEN

‘‘We are slowly go­ing to re­build and start from scratch.’’

One mo­ment he was look­ing for­ward to some deep-fried chips.

The next he was out­side watch­ing flames con­sume the fam­ily home and ev­ery­thing in­side.

‘‘The house was com­pletely gone - they have their clothes on their backs and that’s about it,’’ Man­gakino Fire Chief Craig Snow­ball said.

The three-bed­room, 90-squareme­tre rental in Kahu Street was gut­ted in the blaze on Wed­nes­day even­ing last week.

Around 6.30pm, Euan Mackey put oil on the stove to heat up for cook­ing chips.

Alone in the house at the time, he left the pot unat­tended for two min­utes, he said. The fire took hold ’’faster than what you see on TV’’. ‘‘It looked like it was alive.’’ ‘‘He pan­icked,’’ Snow­ball said. ‘‘He got out and tried to raise the neigh­bours and some of them shot back there.

‘‘He grabbed the hose and went back in, but by then, it was too far gone.’’

By the time the first of three fire crews ar­rived, half the house was ablaze, Snow­ball said.

‘‘There were flames lap­ping out of the back of the house, out the side win­dows, pretty much the whole house was smokel­ogged and dam­aged.

‘‘It was a lit­tle Mango house and it doesn’t take long for them to go.’’

About a dozen fire­fight­ers used low-pres­sure hoses to ex­tin­guish the blaze.

With back-up from Toko­roa and Taupo, Snow­ball said crews en­tered the house to douse the re­main­der of the fire.

Mackey’s part­ner, Ebony Forde, was at dance prac­tice in Whaka­maru at the time, while their four-year-old child was at a rel­a­tive’s.

One of the peo­ple at prac­tice told her not to panic, but her house was on fire.

‘‘We still have our jobs and our fam­ily,’’ Forde said. ‘‘We are slowly go­ing to re­build and start from scratch.’’

‘‘Thanks to ev­ery­one for the sup­port.’’

The fam­ily were unin­sured but were not seek­ing any do­na­tions or spe­cial treat­ment from the com­mu­nity.

‘‘We have fam­ily sup­port. We are safe and we will be al­right. It was just a freak ac­ci­dent,’’ Mackey said.

He said that he wanted to let ev­ery one know ‘‘don’t leave your cook­ing oil on unat­tended for any amount of time’’.


The fire started in the kitchen where a pot of hot oil went up in flames. Ebony Forde

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