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Smoke alarms alert family to house fire

A five bedroom home in Elgin was extensively damaged by fire this morning.

The family who lived there have lost most of their household possessions.

Fire and Emergency NZ sent two appliances to the property at the corner of Queens Road and Karaka Street at around 9.20am after receiving multiple 111 calls.

“The family were alerted to the fire by smoke alarms and managed to get out safely,” said Senior Station Officer Peter Carroll.

One member of the family was taken to Gisborne Hospital by St John ambulance for a checkup.

“The house was well involved in fire when we arrived.”

The fire spread very quickly through the privately-owned residence.

“It appears to have started in the kitchen area somehow and the flames have gone straight up the hallway,” SSO Carroll said.

“The people who lived there were at the other end of the house when it started.

“Fortunately the working smoke alarms in the home alerted them.

“They were able to get their elderly grandmother and everyone else out safely.”

The flames had broken through the roof in a couple of places.

“What's not been gutted by the fire has been badly smoke damaged.”

SSO Carroll estimated about 70 percent of the house had sustained fire damage, and the rest of it smoke damage.

Specialist fire investigator Derek Goodwin went to the property this morning to begin an inquiry into how the fire started.

“This fire again illustrates the value of having working smoke alarms in the home,” SSO Carroll said.

“It also illustrates the importance of having an evacuation plan, and an evacuation point for everyone to gather at.

“That way when we arrive it's much easier to ascertain that everyone was out safely.”

FAMILY FLEES FIRE: A family fled a burning house on the Queens Road/Karaka Street corner in Elgin this morning. Firefighters say they got out in time thanks to the early warning provided by smoke alarms. One family member was taken to Gisborne Hospital for a check-up. Firefighters estimated the house was 70 percent damaged while the rest of the property was severely smoke-damaged. Picture by Paul Rickard