Towel rail fire contained

MARYKE PENMAN
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2012

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A heated towel rail that caught fire on Tuesday night threatened to burn down a Greenhithe family's home.

Firefighters were called to Kunzea Place about 5pm as the homeowner battled to contain the blaze in his upstairs ensuite bathroom.

Albany and East Coast Bays firefighters used high-pressure hoses to douse the flames.

The family was watching TV downstairs when their smoke alarm went off, Albany fire station officer Ron Henderson says. The homeowner then ran upstairs to find the top floor filling up with smoke and the bathroom door on fire.

"The guy had the presence of mind to get containers of water on to it and use a fire extinguisher to contain the fire until we arrived," Mr Henderson says.

Smoke and flames damaged the bathroom, but the rest of the home wasn't affected. "They are very lucky they were home as, with the nature of this fire, it could have at least burnt through the top floor," Mr Henderson says.

"The homeowner did everything right and it is absolutely through no fault of their own that it was started."

An investigation is expected to confirm the fire began from the switch connected to the towel rail, Mr Henderson says.

The family told investigators the towel rail hadn't worked since they moved into the property six months ago.

"It appears there may have been a fault they were unaware of," Mr Henderson says.

"If an electrical appliance stops working for no apparent reason, especially one installed like a towel rail, you need to determine what has caused that and not just leave it. It could fire up again if there is still power to the switch."

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- North Harbour News

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