Smoke alarm saves lives in house fire

The Southland Times - - NEWS - EVAN HARD­ING

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.

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