Cool heads after gas explosion

JULIAN RAETHEL
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2013
explosion

BURN RELIEF: Lync, left, and Willie Hetaraka helped family members suffering from burns using their pool.

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An act of bravery by a 10-year-old and his uncle helped their family escape a gas explosion in Massey on Wednesday.

April Hetaraka and her son, Dennis, 26, were using the stove at their Lilburn Cres house when it exploded.

The stove was attached to a portable gas bottle.

The fire service believes the gas hose connecting the stove to the bottle ignited because of a leak.

Mrs Hetaraka's son Lync, 10, and brother-in-law, Willie, were home downstairs and ran to the rescue as the incident unfolded.

"They were having a cook-up and we heard the explosion from downstairs," Mr Hetaraka says.

"They came out screaming, it was quite scary.

"I ran up the stairs and smothered the fire with a wet blanket to try to put it out."

Lync helped his mother and brother into the pool and called emergency services.

"Mum ran down the stairs and her skin was peeling off her arms, back and legs," he says.

"She dived straight into the pool and I started to cry. I called 111 and just kept talking to both mum and my brother until help arrived," Lync says.

Dennis escaped with burns to the back of his legs and feet.

Both victims were taken to Waitakere Hospital for treatment and were moved to Middlemore Hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

The Fire Service is unsure at this stage what led to the explosion but says there will be an investigation.

Waitemata station officer Len Blake says the two are lucky they had help on hand.

"Fortunately they had the pool on site which has saved a lot of their skin and they stayed there until emergency services arrived.

"The two were also facing away from the stove when the explosion happened which has made a huge difference."

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- Western Leader

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