Hundreds turn out to view burned out shell

By Zac Yates

About 700 people yesterday toured a Wanganui home which was ravaged by fire.

The Fire Service held an open home at the Plymouth St address where an electrical fault ignited the fire that gutted the house this month.

Bernie Rush, Wanganui area manager for the Fire Service, said State Insurance and the house's owner had made it available for the open home.

He said despite the rain, about 700 people had gone through to see the damagewhich included a melted power meter and a lounge suite stripped to its charred frame.

"We haven't had one [open home] in Wanganui for about 12 years and they were all on sunny days, but today's been as busy as those.

"There have been lots of families and groups of six or more people, constantly going through. It's a great learning tool," he said.

The fire made national headlines when one of the officers on the scene, Gary Wilson, gave CPR to a puppy found in a bedroom. He said he took his own family through the house to show them what it was like.

"I've been in the service for about 40 years and my family had never actually seen inside a burned-out house, so it was amazing for them to go through."

Lisa Barnett, who took her three children through the gutted house, said it was frightening to see how the fire had spread and to see where the smoke had gone.

"It's really good for the kids to see it, but it's quite scary to see how quick it happened."

Her daughter Isabella, 7, said besides the house being "smelly", she thought it was quite scary going through it.

Thanks to fire safety lessons at school, she thought she would be okay if her house caught fire.

But when asked what she would do first, Isabella had one act in mind: "Screaming!"

- Wanganui Chronicle

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