Smoke alarm a ‘sav­ing grace’

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - ME­GAN SUTHER­LAND

A Ti­maru man says a smoke alarm saved his life af­ter a fire gut­ted part of a house on Tues­day.

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cause of the fire at a house on Church St, where a 10-month-old baby was in­side, sleep­ing, at the time.

Six peo­ple, in­clud­ing the baby, were liv­ing in the flat at the time of the blaze on Tues­day morn­ing.

On Wed­nes­day one of the flat­mates, Lovedeep Singh, said it was the smoke alarms and screams of the baby’s mother that woke him and saved his life.

Singh was asleep at the time of the fire, and said there were three or four smoke alarms in the house which woke him up.

‘‘The smoke alarms were help­ful, it woke me up and scream­ing, that woke me up, like re­ally, re­ally loud scream­ing so I got up to see what was hap­pen­ing and saw black.’’

The baby was also asleep two rooms back from the fire, which broke out at the front of the house, he said.

The mother of the baby and an­other flat­mate were out­side when they heard an ‘‘ex­plo­sion’’, which is be­lieved to have come from the woman’s bed­room.

The pair ran back into the house, from the porch, scream­ing at the oth­ers to get out­side, Singh said.

‘‘Thank god ev­ery­one is safe, you can get the stuff back but you can’t get a life back.’’

He said he and his flat­mates were all ‘‘okay’’ but there was ‘‘no clue’’ as to how the fire started.

Singh and his other flat­mates were all liv­ing at dif­fer­ent fam­ily and friends houses as they could not live at the prop­erty.

The front room was ‘‘quite dam­aged...all you can see is full black, all the walls are black,’’ Singh said.

The land­lord of the house had in­surance, he said.

De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Richard Quested, of Ti­maru, said the smoke alarms in the house were a ‘‘sav­ing grace’’ that alerted the oc­cu­pants to the fire so they were able to es­cape.

It was lucky no­body se­ri­ously in­jured, he said.

He said po­lice were work­ing with fire­fight­ers to de­ter­mine the cause of the fire.

It was not un­usual for po­lice to as­sist in de­ter­min­ing the cause of a fire, if there were sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances, he said.

Po­lice had not de­ter­mined ei­ther way if there were sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the cause of the fire, he said.

St John South Can­ter­bury ter­ri­tory man­ager Dar­ryn Grigsby said two peo­ple were treated for smoke in­hala­tion, and a third was treated for smoke in­hala­tion and mi­nor burns.

The pa­tients, in­clud­ing the mother and baby, were taken to Ti­maru Hospi­tal’s Emer­gency De­part­ment to be checked fol­low­ing the fire.

They were dis­charged from hospi­tal on Tues­day, a South Can­ter­bury Dis­trict Health Board spokes­woman said. was

PHOTO: MTYCHALL BRANS­GROVE/STUFF

Lovedeep Singh at out­side the Church St house that caught fire on Tues­day.

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