Stove fire guts Feilding house

Feilding father has to 'start from scratch'

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 08:05 26/08/2014
Fire
MURRAY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

DESTROYED: Fire crews were called to the Housing New Zealand home in Collins Cres about 10.30am.

Fire
MURRAY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ
AFTER: The scene after the fire was put out.

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A Feilding father will be "starting from scratch" after his house burnt down.

Fire crews were called to the Housing New Zealand house on Collins Cres, Feilding, about 10.30am yesterday.

Firefighters were within minutes of having the burning debris potentially collapse on them but got out in time.

The fire is believed to have originated from the stove, where the occupant, who wished only to be known as Eddie, was cooking chicken nuggets.

Fire Service Manawatu area commander Mitchell Brown said the food had caught fire while left unattended.

Eddie had tried to put it out, but was forced to retreat.

Smoke alarms in the house were working, and Eddie was not injured.

Eddie's children were not home at the time of the fire, and were with their mother when the Manawatu Standard spoke to him yesterday.

The fire spread quickly through the house, and minutes after fire crews arrived, the decision was made to pull firefighters out of the house, because of concerns over the structural integrity of the roof.

About three minutes later, it collapsed inward.

An unoccupied adjoining flat was undamaged thanks to a concrete wall, which separated the two homes.

Eddie, who was still in shock from the fire when the Standard caught up with him, was moving into new accommodation yesterday with the help of Housing New Zealand and Feilding's Manchester House.

They'd suffered a "big loss", and would have to "start from scratch", but he didn't want any additional help, he said.

"I'm always a ‘do it yourself-er' . . . I think I'll be all right."

"I'm just trying to get over it myself."

Brown said the fire was put out within 15 minutes of the Feilding Volunteer Fire Brigade arriving.

The fire had spread though the roof cavity, and timber supporting the roof couldn't hold the weight of the concrete tiles above, causing the collapse.

"When the crew arrived, there was fire rolling out of the front windows.

"So it's travelled out of the back kitchen, along the hall and into the front room, and has had sufficient heat to blow out the windows and start rolling out the front."

Despite the close proximity of the fire station and a short response time, the speed of the fire had taken its toll.

"The damage has been done before we've arrived."

That Eddie had left the house was a "good thing to do", he said.

Housing New Zealand area manager Keith Hilson said staff had been at the property and had arranged alternative accommodation for Eddie and his family.

He was "extremely pleased" no-one was hurt in the fire.

Fire investigators were at the house yesterday.

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- Manawatu Standard

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