Smoke alarm saves lives in house fire
The West Otago community is rallying around a young Heriot family who lost their possessions in a house fire early yesterday morning.
Heriot deputy fire chief Cliff Brenssell said the couple and a toddler boy escaped the blaze shortly before 3am, thanks to smoke alarms going off in the rented house.
‘‘Once again a smoke alarm saves lives.’’
A neighbour took the family in while firefighters tackled the blaze, which destroyed the house, Brenssell said. ‘‘They were starting to go into shock but they are fine. The community’s rallying around them ... that’s what we do around here.’’
The word had been put out on Facebook and the community was donating the family clothes and household goods and trying to find them somewhere to live.
The couple are working on a dairy farm in the area, Brenssell said.
When firefighters arrived at the scene, part of the roof had collapsed, meaning firefighters were unable to gain entry to fight the blaze. ‘‘We had to fight it from the outside.’’
Southern fire communications shift manager Brent Dunn said no one was injured in the fire and it was not deemed suspicious.
Fire crews from Tapanui and Heriot attended the blaze but the single storey house was well alight when they arrived.
The cause of the fire is unknown, with a fire investigator expected at the scene yesterday.