Scares spark alarm reminder

By Gerald Ford -
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Masterton Fire Service personnel also issued a smoke alarm warning in 2013 after a fatal sleepout fire in the town. Photo / File
Masterton Fire Service personnel also issued a smoke alarm warning in 2013 after a fatal sleepout fire in the town. Photo / File

Extra guests over Christmas may mean extra smoke alarms are needed, Masterton Fire Service has warned - especially in sleepouts and caravans.

"We encourage people to have plenty of alarms and to make sure that they are working," station officer Kevin Smith said yesterday in the wake of three weekend callouts he said highlighted the importance of the devices.

The service received "two calls within two to three minutes of each other", both to smoke-filled houses on the west side of Masterton, at about 10.40pm on Friday.

In both cases, occupants of the houses had been alerted to the danger by their smoke alarms.

The first, in College St, Masterton, was caused by a pot of eggs on the stove, which the woman occupant of the house had set and left to boil dry, having had a shower and then gone to bed.

The woman had been woken by her smoke alarm as the house filled with smoke, which "reinforces the use of a good working smoke alarm," Mr Smith said.

The second callout to Seddon St, Masterton, was caused by "something plastic in a vent", which caused "smoke logging" in the house, and a "plastic burning smell" Mr Smith said.

A child's toy had been left in a heating vent and begun melting.

The Fire Service was able to use its own ventilation equipment to clear the house of smoke.

He noted that in both cases the smoke alarms had done their job though there was "no huge threat of fire".

A third callout, however, had uncovered two caravans being used for accommodation, neither of which had smoke alarms.

The Fire Service had been called to an animal rescue job at a property on Makora Rd, Masterton, about 2pm on Saturday.

"A dog had climbed underneath a caravan and had its head in the chassis and couldn't get it out," Mr Smith said.

He had crawled underneath the caravan and, while the owners held the dog, "cut one of the rails with a reciprocating saw", freeing the animal.

"They were using a couple of caravans for extra accommodation," Mr Smith said. "We asked them if the caravans had smoke alarms and they said no. That's quite a dangerous situation; we know there are cases where there have been fatalities in a caravan fire.

"We recommend if you have extra people staying at this time of year - if you have caravans or sleepouts and you've got people staying in them - make sure you've got smoke alarms and make sure they're working."

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