Grinch arsonist suspected in Christmas tree fire at Porirua North City mall

 

 

Police suspect the fire was deliberately set and are investigating, including reviewing CCTV footage.

Police suspect the fire was deliberately set and are investigating, including reviewing CCTV footage. – MONIQUE FORD/STUFF

Police are investigating a suspected arson after a fire at Porirua’s North City shopping centre forced the evacuation of the entire mall on Friday afternoon.

It was suspected the fire – in which no one was injured – was deliberately lit among Christmas decorations in the toy section of Kmart, a police spokeswoman said.

“Some Christmas decorations have been damaged by fire, including a festively decorated tree. Police are at the scene and investigations are being carried out.

“It’s thought that some CCTV footage may lead to locating the Grinch who stole Christmas so early,” the spokeswoman said.

Shoppers were evacuated around 4:30pm after a small fire broke out in Kmart at North City mall in Porirua.

Shoppers were evacuated around 4:30pm after a small fire broke out in Kmart at North City mall in Porirua. – MONIQUE FORD/STUFF

“There’s so many combustibles in there. It could have been disastrous. The sprinkler contained it long enough for us to get in there,” Porirua Fire Brigade senior station officer Dene Wade said.

He commended the staff and management for their quick evacuation and organisation.  “They knew what to do.”

Fire and Emergency shift manager Belinda Beets said the fire was called in on 111 at 4.10pm.

An alarm had gone off and the sprinkler system had activated in Kmart, which had contained the fire.

Beets said there were two fire engines in attendance and no reported injuries.

Porirua's North City mall was evacuated after a fire in Kmart on Friday afternoon. Police suspect the fire was deliberately lit.

Porirua’s North City mall was evacuated after a fire in Kmart on Friday afternoon. Police suspect the fire was deliberately lit. – MONIQUE FORD/STUFF

Porirua resident Barbara Doyer was evacuated at about 4.30pm.

“We came out of Millers and there was a suspicious smell.”

“We heard it was on the roof, or maybe coming from Kmart. I heard it’s contained,” shopper Dylan Jones said.

The suspected arson lit up this festively adorned tree and scorched some nearby pink flamingos.

The suspected arson lit up this festively adorned tree and scorched some nearby pink flamingos. – NZ POLICE

Gerard Earl, director for mall manager Colliers International, said systems had activated as expected and the mall had been evacuated promptly and swiftly.

Earl expected it would be open again by 9am on Saturday after it had been properly assessed.

He said there was a managed process underway to retrieve cars from the mall’s car park.

Evacuated shoppers watch on as emergency services arrive.

Evacuated shoppers watch on as emergency services arrive. – MONIQUE FORD/STUFF

Posted in NEWS |

Holiday weekend hell: SH1 closed north of Wellington

Bumper to bumper on Paekakariki Hill Rd. Photo / Rosalie Willis

Bumper to bumper on Paekakariki Hill Rd. Photo / Rosalie Willis NZ Herald

The NZTA said due to the dangerous materials spilled, extraction of the crashed truck and clearing of the lanes was a complex operation.

Motorists were being asked to delay all unnecessary travel.

Aftermath of a truck crash at Pukerua Bay on State Highway One north of Wellington. Photo / Kyle Mitchell

Aftermath of a truck crash at Pukerua Bay on State Highway One north of Wellington. Photo / Kyle Mitchell

Earlier, SH2 was completely blocked earlier today at Remutaka Hill after two trucks became stuck on a corner.

The road has since fully reopened in both directions but NZTA is asking motorists to expect delays as congestion eases.

A vehicle has also broken down on the Featherston side of the Remutaka Hill, blocking the road there.

NZTA is expected to provide an update on SH1 on the Kapiti Coast before 2pm.

Trucks queued near Pukerua Bay after crash on SH1 this morning. Photo / Rosalie Willis / Kapiti News

Trucks queued near Pukerua Bay after crash on SH1 this morning. Photo / Rosalie Willis / Kapiti News

Workers are hosed down after dealing with the aftermath of a truck crash at Pukerua Bay. Photo / Kyle Mitchell

Workers are hosed down after dealing with the aftermath of a truck crash at Pukerua Bay. Photo / Kyle Mitchell

SH1 is closed until further notice following an early morning truck crash near Pukerua Bay on the Kapiti Coast.

The truck and trailer unit carrying hazardous substances rolled on State Highway 1 north of Porirua, leaking chemicals on to the road and closing the road for most of the day.

NZTA Systems Manager Mark Owen said motorists need to appreciate that Paekakariki Hill Road is a tight, steep and windy road and people need to drive with caution, watch for oncoming traffic on the tight corners and also allow extra time for their travel.

“Holiday weekends are always busy and with the increase in traffic on the road and with this added road closure we are expecting more congestion and delays through this area.

“We ask motorists to consider delaying their travel and where possible, consider leaving once the road has reopened and the traffic is lighter.”

Once SH1 is open it will take some time to clear the truck from the road.

The highway is closed in both directions between Pukerua Bay and Plimmerton after the single-vehicle incident at 3.45am.

Police are warning the road could remain closed until late this afternoon.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) was seeking advice on how best to deal with the chemicals, a spokeswoman said.

The truck driver suffered minor injuries.

Witnesses said there was a large emergency service presence at the scene, with major detours in place.

The detour for the road closure on SH1 is via Paekākāriki Hill Rd but is only suitable for light vehicles.

Police said trucks were being stopped from travelling north and south on the detour.

Cars are u-turning at the roundabout near Palmers Garden Centre in Plimmerton.

Local resident Grant Patterson says the road up the coast was quiet.

“There are no cars on the road at all on the way to Pukerua Bay from what I can see and there are about 10 trucks jammed in at the weigh station.”

NZTA regional transport system manager Mark Owen said the incident was going to have a significant impact throughout this morning and probably the rest of the day.

“Obviously we are very conscious that lots of people want to head out of town for the long weekend so we’ll be working through the morning to work out what the plans are.”

Ian Lyall, the owner of Brentwood Transport Limited, a freight transport company based in Lower Hutt, managed to make it through to Wellington from Kapiti just before the road was closed this morning.

“I leave home around 3.15am so I was just in front of it.

“I got here which I’m quite lucky about I guess, I’m going to Australia today. My son’s still stuck in Paraparaumu but he’s going to jump on a train, get into town and I’ll pick him up.”

Kind locals have been out offering drivers stuck on the road food and drinks. Photo / Truckies of NZ Facebook

Kind locals have been out offering drivers stuck on the road food and drinks. Photo / Truckies of NZ Facebook

 

Lyall said it is a major inconvenience and he feels sorry for everyone sitting in the traffic.

“Plenty of headaches for people travelling away for the weekend I’d imagine. Unfortunately not good timing.”

Lyall said normally they would send one or two trucks up the Kapiti Coast, but today they were having to go over the Remutaka Hill Road and through Wairarapa instead.

“It has Palmerston North freight on it so it has to get there today. Will probably add about half an hour to the journey.”

The NZTA said it would provide its next update by 2pm.

A truck driver enjoys a scone delivered by locals while stuck on the road. Photo / Truckies of NZ Facebook

A truck driver enjoys a scone delivered by locals while stuck on the road. Photo / Truckies of NZ Facebook

The planned closure of Paekākāriki Hill Road has been cancelled for today and the road will remain open.

Owen said crews would work with truck drivers at both ends of the road closure.

“Typically we just stack them up and they’ll just have to wait until we get more advice about what the options are.”

The detour route had been scheduled to close today from midday until 9pm to keep holidaymakers safe.

That was due to the risk to drivers from both the steep, winding road and merging with holiday traffic on State Highway 1.

State Highway 1 at Airlie Road looks like a ghost motorway due to the road closure. Photo / NZTA

State Highway 1 at Airlie Road looks like a ghost motorway due to the road closure. Photo / NZTA

Owen said Paekākāriki Hill Rd was tight and torturous and not a highway.

He said motorists needed to be patient and careful.

“There are some fairly blind corners on that road and we want to try and keep the speeds down and keep that route open and safe for everyone that needs to use it.”

Posted in NEWS |

Summer Fire Safety Story

Summer is coming and its time to get the barbeque out for the traditional Kiwi feast.




Its also time to think about summer fire safety.




As the sun starts to shine, we also need to be aware of the power of the sun and how that can cause some fire safety issues around the home.




Take the following story that occurred this spring on a sunny Wellington day.




It was a beautiful spring day in Wellington, with the sun shining and the temperature hitting around 18 degrees.




A friend of mine came home to find her house full of smoke.




She had left a tea towel in a metal bowl on the windowsill, and this is what she came home to;









It would seem the heat of the day in the metal bowl has caused the tea towel to smoulder and possibly catch fire.














































Thankfully there were no curtains above the bowl, but the heat did leave a burn on the wood of the window frame;





























































The house was fitted with smoke detectors, that appear to have activated as they batteries were dead when checked (now replaced), but the house is off the road, and during the day it seems no-body could hear them.




This is an event that could have resulted in much worse of an outcome.




Thankfully only very minor damage to the home and the loss of a tea towel were the only results.




So when thinking about fire safety, its not just the obvious that can cause a fire.




Sunlight on surfaces that absorb heat, light reflecting through a water bottle onto a surface, these small seemingly insignificant things can also be a risk.




Remember to install smoke detectors and test them, and if you hear a smoke alarm sounding, don’t be afraid to call 111 and have the Fire Brigade come and investigate.




One day the house that’s saved might be your own.

Posted in NEWS |

Fire in the laundry at The Lodge, Pauatahanui Inlet

Fire and Emergency attended a fire at The Lodge at Pauatahanui Inlet on Monday morning.

Fire and Emergency attended a fire at The Lodge at Pauatahanui Inlet on Monday morning. – MONIQUE FORD /STUFF

Paekakariki Hill Rd was briefly shut on Monday morning as Fire and Emergency put out a fire at The Lodge at Pauatahanui Inlet.

Senior station officer David Campbell said Fire and Emergency was alerted to the fire about 6am on Monday.

When crews arrived, flames were coming out of the southwest side of the conference area.

Senior station officer David Campbell said the fire fighters worked hard to stop the blaze spreading.

Senior station officer David Campbell said the fire fighters worked hard to stop the blaze spreading. – MONIQUE FORD/STUFF

At least 10 fire trucks plus extras were called in.

The fire was largely contained to the laundry and surrounding area thanks to a quick response and working alarms.

At least 10 trucks were called to the fire.

At least 10 trucks were called to the fire. – MONIQUE FORD /STUFF

“The guys worked really hard.”

Nobody was in the area the fire was in when it began.

The cause of the fire would be investigated.

The Lodge should be reopening today. (File photo)

The Lodge should be reopening today. (File photo) – SUPPLIED

He understood the conference centre would be up and running again soon.

The road reopened about 6.45am.

Stuff

Posted in NEWS |

Guess what’s likely causing domestic appliance fires? You.

A controlled burn done by Fire & Emergency NZ for television illustrates just how quickly a home can take light.

A controlled burn done by Fire & Emergency NZ for television illustrates just how quickly a home can take light. – FIRE AND EMERGENCY NZ


You’ve heard the urban myths about domestic appliances bursting into flames and consuming their owner’s houses – but a quick look at the facts shows that the real culprit is likely to be the humans who use them.



Statistics from Fire & Emergency NZ show that in the last five years, 294 fires were caused by “failures to clean” (for example, forgetting to clean the lint out for your dryer), 284 fires were caused by people putting “combustible” things too close to the heater, and 258 were from the careless disposal of cigarettes, embers or ash. Unattended cooking still reigned supreme however, coming in at 893 occurrences.




We’re tired when we get home from work, we’re desperate to get warm, we get bored or distracted – we’re only human. It’s easy for the sensible precautions to go in the “too hard” basket.




If the principal advisor of fire risk management for the Auckland region, Mike Shaw, could drive any message home about fire safety and appliances, it would be simply to always read the instructions.




Here’s a common sense rundown for home appliances that Fire & Emergency NZ would like us to keep in mind.




DRYERS



It's been said before and we'll say it again - don't leave your dryer running when you go out.

It’s been said before and we’ll say it again – don’t leave your dryer running when you go out. – JANE USSHER/NZ HOUSE & GARDEN



It’s simple – remove the lint from the dryer after every use, make sure the dryer is well ventilated and don’t turn it on and then go out.



Static electricity and build up of heat can cause dust, lint and chemical residue on clothing to catch fire.




If you’re a regular user of hair or massage oil, your towels can pose a particular fire risk.


“Over time the oils become impregnated into the fabric,” said Shaw. It doesn’t take much for these to catch light, especially if your dryer doesn’t have an automatic-off switch.




DISHWASHERS



Stacking your dishwasher correctly really is an art - and an important safety measure.

Stacking your dishwasher correctly really is an art – and an important safety measure.

A dishwasher bursting into flames seems like an oxymoron, but what this is most often caused by is poor stacking.




“If you load a small plastic lid into a large slot and it falls through the cage onto a heater element during the drying cycle, it will catch fire,” said Shaw.




MICROWAVES



When you are planning a kitchen, leave space around your microwave.

When you are planning a kitchen, leave space around your microwave. – RESENE


The biggest problem with microwave fires, other than improper things being put inside (we all know cutlery is a no-no) is smothering the extractor fans.



“You need an area around the device,” said Shaw.




So if you’re building a new kitchen and intend on including a microwave, make sure to factor in enough space around it. In an existing kitchen, though tempting, don’t try to make it look cute by stacking with cookbooks or knick-knacks, it could be your undoing.




TOASTERS



Toasters put out a lot of heat so if you store it in an enclosed area, pull it out into the open before use.

Toasters put out a lot of heat so if you store it in an enclosed area, pull it out into the open before use. – JACKIE MEIRING/NZ HOUSE & GARDEN


Obviously due to the nature of a toaster, there’s going to be a lot of hot air coming out the top. Don’t run your toaster inside a cupboard or underneath a shelf or bench.




Amelia Macandrew, Customer Relations Manager, AA Insurance, recommends playing it safe and keep your toaster turned off at the wall when you’re not using it.




“Turn off all non-essential electrical appliances at the wall before you go to bed or work,” she said.




DVD PLAYERS, SKY-BOXES AND GAME CONSOLES



Televisions and DVD players need room to ventilate so don't stack things on them.

Televisions and DVD players need room to ventilate so don’t stack things on them. – RESENE



Consider this just one more reason why playing Xbox all night is a bad idea. Extended use causes devices like this to heat up.



“Things like DVDplayers and sky-boxes have vents which shouldn’t be covered,” said Shaw.




Apply the microwave principles above and go to bed for goodness’ sake.




HAIR STRAIGHTENERS



Hair dryers are quite a common cause of domestic fires.

Hair dryers are quite a common cause of domestic fires.



A “very common” source of domestic fires is hair straighteners being accidentally left on and put down on a soft surface like carpet, a couch or a bed, said Shaw.




Make a habit of unplugging it from the wall when you’re done.




SLOW COOKERS AND OVENS



Slow cookers are handy and make delicious food, just make sure to use it correctly.

Slow cookers are handy and make delicious food, just make sure to use it correctly. – MARION VAN DIJK/STUFF




Shaw is a fan of slow cookers like many of us and said dangers with such a device will relate to how it is used. It’s fine to set and forget your slow cooker, but make sure that it is set up on a clear bench and not sitting on its own cord.




However tempting, it is not recommended that ovens are left on while you pop to the shops.




OIL COLUMN HEATERS AND ELECTRIC BLANKETS



Even if you have a thermostat, it's not recommended that you leave your heater on when you're asleep or out.

Even if you have a thermostat, it’s not recommended that you leave your heater on when you’re asleep or out. – iSTOCK




Whilst perhaps the safest of heaters, Shaw does not recommend leaving your oil column heater on overnight or when you’re out, even if it has a thermostat.




When you are using it or any heating device, stick to the “heater-metre rule”.




“Keep furniture, clothing, curtains and toys a metre away from heaters and fireplaces,” said Macandrew. “[And] always turn off your electric blanket before getting into bed.”




PHONE AND COMPUTER CHARGERS



Charging devices need space to breathe.

Charging devices need space to breathe. – 123RF



Phone chargers causing fires is another one that’s on us apparently. “It’s misuse,” said Shaw. “Anything that’s charging a battery gets warm.”




Leave your phone on a hard surface like a table when charging, and without anything on top of it. Do not put it in your bed or under your pillow.




“Think of a power cord like a hose with water going through,” said Shaw. “Don’t put, for example, a table leg on a computer power cord, it can cause a heat build up.”




MULTI-BOARDS




Similarly, Shaw recommended being wary of plugging too many things into multi boards, or buying cheap versions that don’t have a surge switch. Macandrew agreed.




“During winter when a greater number of heating appliances are used, we recommend Kiwis take care not to overload or smother multi-boards and sockets to avoid overheating,” said Macandrew.




“Don’t overload multi-boards and always untangle appliance cords to make sure there’s no fraying.”



 – Homed

Posted in NEWS |

Investigation underway after fire destroys part of Porirua shopping block

An investigation has been  launched into the cause of a late-night blaze that burnt-down a derelict part of a Porirua shopping centre.




A fire investigator and a police photographer were going through the charred remains of the derelict commercial property tucked among shops along Mentor Lane at Cannons Creek on Monday.




It took about 40 firefighters from 11 fire appliances to quell the blaze, which grew higher than a lamppost at one point, at about 11pm the previous night.





More than 40 firefighters tackled a blaze in Porirua overnight.

More than 40 firefighters tackled a blaze in Porirua overnight. – STEVEN BIDDLE



Paul Wahid, who runs a nearby SuperValu store, said he understood the building used to be a bar but it had been closed for years.


Kids used to climb onto the buildings and get inside, he said. “There’s a lot of kids, young kids, out on the roof all the time.”





Police and a fire investigator were at the scene on Monday morning.

Police and a fire investigator were at the scene on Monday morning – JARED NICOLL



The fire had caused a power outage, which was still affecting the shops into the next day.


“It’s costing all of us big time. All the freezers [are off].”




His colleague, Jackson Singh, said he was working in the store that night when the blaze started at the front of the building nearby and smoke filled the sky “big time”.





A large fire burned out a derelict building at the Cannons Creek Shopping Centre in Porirua on the night of March 25.

A large fire burned out a derelict building at the Cannons Creek Shopping Centre in Porirua on the night of March 25 – JARED NICOLL



The flames were “higher than the [street] lights”.




“One of the other boys, he ran in back in there, and he couldn’t speak; he was just making these funny faces, and I said, ‘calm down, calm down’.”




Fire and Emergency New Zealand assistant area commander for Wellington David Campbell said his officers’ top priority was to stop the blaze spreading to other shops.





The front of the burnt out former business.

The front of the burnt out former business. – JARED NICOLL 

“It was burning very well by the time crews got there and had spread to an adjoining building.”




Firefighters were faced with an indoor battle, full of machinery and debris.




“The structure was collapsing so I couldn’t send anyone inside … it was all [done] from the outside; surround and drown.”




He understood the owner of the derelict building previously tried to start it up as a bar..




A fire investigator was up there on Monday, “having a rummage through the remains to locate a cause”.




“It’s probably been started by someone. It’s probably a crime scene.”

 – Stuff

Posted in NEWS |

Fire damages Porirua commercial block

The blaze caused “extensive damage” to the block on Mentor Lane, which sits behind the main Cannons Creek shops late on Sunday evening.





More than 40 firefighters tackled a blaze in Porirua overnight.

More than 40 firefighters tackled a blaze in Porirua overnight. – STEVEN BEDDIE

Fire damages Porirua commercial block
Fire damages Porirua commercial block

Fire and Emergency New Zealand was alerted to the fire shortly after 11pm Sunday.




More than 40 firefighters were greeted by a building which was well-involved in fire, according to shift manager Jan Wills.




One fire truck was still being used to dampen down hot spots on Monday morning.




Wills would not be drawn on whether the blaze was suspicious, but confirmed a fire investigator would be at the scene on Monday.

 – Stuff

Posted in NEWS |

Unattended cooking possible cause of housing unit fire in Porirua

No-one was injured in a kitchen fire at a home along Mungavin Ave in Porirua.

No-one was injured in a kitchen fire at a home along Mungavin Ave in Porirua. – SIMON MAUDE/STUFF



Unattended cooking could be responsible for a fire that “burnt out” a second-storey housing unit in Porirua.




Fire and Emergency Services NZ were called to what started as a kitchen fire in a two-storey block of four, understood to belong to Housing NZ, along Mungavin Ave in Cannons Creek about 8am on Friday.




Senior station officer Trevor Sheehan, of Porirua, said the “straight-forward” job meant his team had things under control within an hour.




Working smoke alarms alerted the occupants to get outside, meaning no-one was injured.




Although the cause of the fire was still undetermined, initial thoughts were that it started in the kitchen, possibly because of unattended cooking.




Part of the street was blocked off while four fire trucks and a command unit brought the blaze under control, which took about 45 minutes plus another 2.5 hours to dampen.




The neighbouring units suffered smoke and heat damage.




STUFF –  JARED NICOLL

Posted in NEWS |

Family run maze of smoke, flames, to escape ‘beast’ of a fire that took everything

The man stood in borrowed shoes and yesterday’s clothes, and the woman sat wrapped in a blanket, crying, in a people-mover.




About 100 metres away, close enough to catch the faint whiff of smoke still pouring out of it, was their home.

A Paekākārikihouse is ravaged by flames.

A Paekākāriki house is ravaged by flames.

Whatever else they lost, the couple and their three-year-old daughter were still alive after facing a wall of smoke and flames in the darkness. It was hard to tell whether they should be devastated or relieved. They were both




The  couple who lost everything on Wednesday morning in the  Paekākāriki house fire have spoken about running through  a maze of smoke and flames, and carrying their child to safety, on the Kāpiti Coast north of Wellington.



The aftermath of the house fire in Paekākāriki. with one of the homeowners being comforted in the foreground.

The aftermath of the house fire in Paekākāriki. with one of the homeowners being comforted in the foreground. – John Maxwell/Stuff



The woman, who did not wish to be named, spoke wrapped in a blanket, only a few hours after the fire in their two-storey, rimu weatherboard home on Wellington Rd at about 5am.




She said she “just heard something strange” that woke her from her sleep in a bedroom on the top storey of the house.




The woman looked out the front bedroom window and there were flames running up from the porch below.

Firefighters attempt to put out the fire at a Paekākārikihouse.

Firefighters attempt to put out the fire at a Paekākāriki house.

She yelled out “fire” to her partner and grabbed their daughter.

Her partner ran to alert a guest staying overnight, who had just arrived on Tuesday from the Netherlands, and all four plunged downstairs into smoke, so thick and dark it blocked their way.




“Then you opened the lounge door but you couldn’t get through the lounge, so we tried to go the kitchen but you couldn’t get through the kitchen so we went out the back door.  By the time we were on the second level, the top was already alight,” she said.

The rimu weatherboard home, built in the early 1900s, destroyed by fire in Paekākāriki.

The rimu weatherboard home, built in the early 1900s, destroyed by fire in Paekākāriki. – John Maxwell/Stuff

Her partner stood nearby on the Beach Rd footpath, away from a tangle of fire hoses and fire service trucks dampening the smouldering remains,




The man said he felt sick. “It hasn’t really hit home yet either. I know I’m going to be numb for a long time.”




He said he helped get everyone outside and then tried to fight the flames with a garden house, but it was pointless.

Firefighters dampen the remains of the house fire in Paekākāriki.

Firefighters dampen the remains of the house fire in Paekākāriki. – John Maxwell/Stuff

Then the man saw the flames fanning out towards the wooden house next door, of a similar age, and he ran and pounded on their door.




“I said ‘you guys have got to get out, it’s heading your way’.”




He had never seen anything like the flames that engulfed his home.




“They were pushing me back. The garden hose: totally pointless. The heat from that fire was the most intense I’ve ever seen. It had a life of its own, it was a beast. I lost hope.”




They had lived in the house for about 12 years, and were close to completing an ongoing renovation.




“That’s one thing that hurts the most, it’s such a piece of history, and we’d just finished [renovating] the front room, as the final room.”




His mother and sister had arrived from Wainuiomata, bringing a pair of shoes for him so he at least had something to put on his feet.




“He’s wearing his brother-in-law’s shoes,” his mother said.



The man’s mother hugged him, crying. “Thank God you you all got out. I just thank God that everybody got out.”




The house was insured but not the contents, the man said. They did not know what caused the fire, but they had lost everything they owned.




The Paekākāriki village community was already rallying to help the family on Wednesday morning.




Kāpiti Coast deputy mayor Janet Holborow said the village would do anything it could to help the family, and they were shocked at the loss of the iconic weatherboard home.




“The family is devastated, they walked out with just the clothes they were wearing.”




She said a Givealittle page had already been set up and could be found by searching Paekakariki House Fire.




Emergency services were called just after 5am.




Volunteer firefighters from Paekākāriki Fire Station located just off Wellington Rd were the first on the scene  just after 5am and nine fire trucks from across the region attended.




Fire investigators  were on their way to the scene. It was unclear if the house had smoke alarms.




 

 – Stuff

Posted in NEWS |

Neighbours praised for raising alarm about house fire in Porirua

A Porirua family was sitting down to watch Shortland Street, but then they saw smoke pouring out of their neighbour’s garage.




“We looked out the window and there was just smoke everywhere,” the neighbour, who asked not to be named, said.




He has been praised for his quick actions in raising the alarm, which enabled an elderly man in the house to escape.



Fire crews are continuing to investigate the fire that gutted an Ascot Park home on Wednesday night.

Fire crews are continuing to investigate the fire that gutted an Ascot Park home on Wednesday night. – ROSA WOODS/STUFF

An intense house fire had started just after 7pm. It gutted the single-storey Ascot Park  home, north of Wellington.




“We just ran next door and simply to make sure that nobody was in there,” the neighbour said.



The Ascot Park house was totally engulfed in flames by the time fire crew arrived.

The Ascot Park house was totally engulfed in flames by the time fire crew arrived. – ROSA WOODS/STUFF

“Nothing heroic or anything like that, we just banged on the door just to let them know because at that stage we didn’t know if they were aware.”




There was one elderly man in the front room of the house and after being alerted, he managed to get out before the fire spread.




“It just happens so quickly,” the neighbour said of the fire.



Black smoke hangs over Porirua as crews tackle the fire.

Black smoke hangs over Porirua as crews tackle the fire. – PAIL SCHOFIELD

“What I’ve been told since then is if we hadn’t notified him or got to him when we did he may well have been trapped inside.”




Within minutes of the fire starting, several neighbours had come out to make sure everyone was alright, the neighbour said.




Fire crews were also quickly on the scene, the neighbour added.




In a facebook post the Porirua Fire Brigade praised the efforts of ‘a few amazing neighbours’ for raising the alarm on Wednesday night.




They also reiterated the importance of working smoke alarms to alert home owners to fire danger.




“We tell you over and over that smoke alarms save lives, well tonight a few amazing neighbours did the job of a smoke alarm and alerted the occupant of this house to the fact that his house was on fire,” the post said.




The single-storey house on Almora View was totally engulfed in flames by the time fire crews arrived.




The blaze was so intense that two cars next door also caught fire and thick black smoke blanketed the area.




A fire service spokesman said multiple calls were received about the fire.




One member of the public was treated for smoke inhalation.




The cause of the fire is still unknown and is being investigated, a fire services spokeswoman said.

 – Stuff

Posted in NEWS |
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