Alarms save mum, kids from blaze

By Lawrence Gullery

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A mother and her two children escaped their burning house thanks to fire alarms triggered by the smoke engulfing the Havelock North suburban home on Tuesday night.

It was the second time in a couple of months Havelock North chief fire officer Alvan Wakeford and his volunteer firefighters had visited the Woodland Drive property to extinguish a fire.

The first incident was a minor case but Mr Wakeford said he had managed to convince the mum living at the home to install fire alarms.

"There was a little incident a while ago and we fitted smoke alarms then and it was the alarms which woke up everyone up this time.

"So we are chuffed at least, that the fire alarms worked and as a result everyone managed to get out."

Havelock North volunteer fire crews, including two appliances, were called to the fire as well as two more appliances from the Hastings fire station, about 10.15pm.

"There would have been about 20 staff at the scene and we stayed there until about 1pm, dampening down the house as it was completely involved (on fire) when we got there and took a while to knock back."

Mr Wakeford said no neighbouring homes were damaged and no fire staff were harmed while bringing the blaze under control.

He said the Havelock North volunteer fire crew continually pushed messages about how important fire alarms were and this would be a case to help highlight the campaign.

"We've done pamphlet drops in mail boxes while we've been out on jobs just to bring it to the attention of people and show them what can actually happen."

New Zealand Fire Service safety officer Bob Palmer said the Woodland Drive house fire was under investigation but was not considered suspicious.

"We are just here now trying to work out what caused the fire," he said. "The occupants are okay, they're lucky they had fire alarms which enabled them to escape, that's the key message here.

"The house is severely damaged, though."

The Havelock North fire came after another suspected arson of three sheds on Gordon Rd in Hastings on Monday night, which Mr Palmer said police were investigating.

Mr Palmer and Mr Wakeford acknowledge two fires in one week was "unusual but not uncommon".

"That (Gordon Rd) was a shed fire, this is a house fire but it always concerning when there's a fire in Havelock North, or anywhere for that matter," Mr Palmer said.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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