Fire could have turned to tragedy

22:49, May 26 2013
Andre Simpson
LUCKY ESCAPE: Mt Victoria resident Andre Simpson woke early this morning to the smell of smoke in his flat.

A fire that started in the wall of a house in central Wellington could have easily turned to tragedy for the four people inside.

It was just luck that Andre Simpson woke about 6am today to the smell of acrid smoke coming up the stairs of his Mt Victoria flat.

With his girlfriend and two flatmates asleep he walked to the stairwell to see smoke coming through the wall and thick smoke through the downstairs.

It appeared a water pipe had burst, flooding the floor and starting an electrical fire inside the wall, he said.

''I felt the wall and there was heat coming from inside.''

Outside, he could see flames coming through the weather boards.

He woke his flatmates and called the fire service, who cut holes in the wall to put the fire out before it spread.

''It would have just gone up, straight up the next level and into the roof,'' Mr Simpson said.

Fire fighters told him it was a ''tinder-dry'' building that could have easily burnt down.

With only one stairway down, which went right past the starting point of the fire, those asleep upstairs would have had to jump from windows if the blaze took hold.

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