ONE man is dead and another lucky to be alive after a road accident and house fire in the Waikohu area during the weekend.
Greg Coates, 28, died soon after his car hit a power pole on Whatatutu Road about 7pm on Saturday night.
The accident happened just past the Puha Bridge and not far from his family home.
The Fire Service had to cut him from the car.
St John ambulance took Mr Coates to Gisborne Hospital in a critical condition but a spokesman said he died shortly after.
His Facebook page was flooded with messages of sympathy over the weekend.
He was remembered for his “cheeky grin, big blue eyes and sense of humour,” by friends and family.
As the Waikohu community was reeling from the news of the fatal accident yesterday, in the township of Te Karaka neighbours saved the life of a 50-year-old man when his home caught on fire.
Te Karaka chief fire officer Jamie Simpson said the man was “really lucky to be alive”.
“The owner was inside and he was rescued by neighbours.
“They were really brave.”
The fire, in a house in Ioapa Road, started about 9pm and neighbours noticed the smoke immediately.
They raced in to save the owner who they knew was inside.
“If it had started much later, the neighbours might not have seen it.
“He had breathed in a lot of smoke.”
Mr Simpson said it was not known if the man had smoke alarms.
The man was taken to Gisborne Hospital by St John ambulance suffering from smoke inhalation and was in a stable condition in intensive care this morning.
Mr Simpson said the fire virtually destroyed the kitchen and there was smoke damage throughout the home.
It was well alight when Te Karaka volunteer firefighters arrived.
Appliances and crews from Whatatutu, Patutahi and Gisborne attended the fire as a precaution because of the threat of the fire spreading to neighbouring homes.
It was thought the fire started in the kitchen but the fire service is still investigating the cause.