Family lucky to escape house fire

DUBBY HENRY
Last updated 11:03 02/12/2012
Crampton Place, Manurewa, housefire
DUBBY HENRY / Fairfax NZ

The charred remains of the house at Crampton Place in Manurewa.

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A young South Auckland family was lucky to escape unharmed this morning after a house fire engulfed their house in a matter of minutes.

Fire services were called to the house at Crampton Place in Manurewa around 10 am after a tenant awoke to a room full of smoke.

Officers believe the fire, which consumed the house in half an hour, may have been caused by children playing with matches.

The tenant, who wanted only to be known as Stephen, didn't know why he woke up.

"I woke up suddenly and the house was full of smoke. I ran through the house yelling 'fire, fire' but I couldn't find anyone so I went outside."

He then went to a neighbour's house to call 111.

Gavin Maxwell, station officer for Manurewa fire station, believed the house had no smoke alarms and it was probably the sound of a window cracking that woke Stephen.

"I'd say he was very lucky... the fire was well underway before the occupant was alerted. The occupant did the right thing in making sure everybody was out."

 "Smoke alarms would have reduced the severity of the fire because they would have noticed it earlier."

He said the "probable cause" was children playing with matches.

The kids' bedroom was where the fire started, Maxwell said. The room was completely destroyed and the roof had fallen in.

The fire continued for up to half an hour before crews arrived. It then took them 15 minutes to "knock it" to a manageable level, Maxwell added.

Tenant Tasha Wati said she and her four children had gone to the dairy for "10 to 15 minutes".

"We drove back and the house was ablaze."

They had been renting the property for a year. It was thought to be uninsured.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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