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Smoke alarms to the rescue … yet again

Smoke alarms save lives.
For the second time this week, occupants of a devastating house fire have escaped because of smoke alarms.
Emergency services descended on Kahutara in the early hours of yesterday morning after a fire ripped through a two-storey home on Hikunui Rd.
The homeowner reportedly woke to the alarms going off, and a house full of smoke, crawling with his dog, to get outside.
A neighbour said he saw flames spilling out of the house around 3am and rushed over with a fire extinguisher, but it was “too late”. There were no reports of injuries, with Wellington Free Ambulance assessing the homeowner at the scene.
It was the second house fire in South Wairarapa in a matter of days, after multiple buildings, including two occupied homes, went up in flames in suspicious fires on Wards Line on Tuesday.
Featherston chief fire officer Colin McKenna said the brigade responded to reports of a house fire at 2.48am.
He said by the time the brigade arrived, 15 minutes later, the fire was well involved.
He said it was “uncanny” to attend two significant house fires in such a short space of time.
“There was nothing suspicious about this one, though. Looks like it may have started from a rechargeable battery pack.”
McKenna confirmed a fire investigator was on the scene yesterday.
The response escalated to include Martinborough and Greytown brigades, and Carterton’s water tanker, with crews departing the scene around 8am.
Martinborough chief fire officer Jake Hawkins said the brigade provided a second pump, siphoning water from a nearby stream to the house.
“Flames were out the window and going high in the air when we arrived. The building is a total loss.
“The smoke alarms definitely saved their lives.”

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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