6-year-old boy takes action over paddock fire

Carl Smith and his son Hugo Smith, 6, took action after spotting an unattended grass fire in a paddock spreading toward ...
David Unwin/Fairfax NZ

Carl Smith and his son Hugo Smith, 6, took action after spotting an unattended grass fire in a paddock spreading toward a garage.

A father and son have become unlikely heroes after extinguishing a grass fire working its way toward a nearby garage.

Carl Smith had pulled over to answer a phone call on Ridds Rd in Feilding when his son Hugo Smith, 6, alerted his father to the fire.

"While I'm on the phone, my boy says 'Dad, there's a fire'," Smith said. 

Hugo Smith, 6, in the blackened grass after helping put out the fire.
Carl Smith

Hugo Smith, 6, in the blackened grass after helping put out the fire.

"I thought it was a controlled burnoff and didn't pay much attention, but my son, being curious, continued analysing the fire and mentioned it was tracking towards a garage.

"Beside the garage was a load of dry building materials."

Hugo told his father no-one was watching the fire, which got his attention.

Jumping the fence, the duo inspected the fire before visiting a nearby house to see if anyone was home. After getting no response from several attempts to call out, Hugo suggested to his father they find a hose to extinguish the fire. 

"On review, a bonfire had burnt down to embers but also ignited some recently cut, dry grass. It was slowly tracking its way to the property owner's garage and a stack of dry wood.

"I would say that another 15 minutes and the dry building materials would have caught alight and therefore the property's two-bay garage.

"I asked my son, 'what do you think we should do?'. He said if there was a hose we could put it out for them. So that's what we did. We found a hose and my son spent 20 minutes putting the fire out.

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"At the end, we tried calling out to anyone in the house and a young lady appeared at the door to our, and her, surprise. She mentioned her dad had started the fire but was now away at work."

Smith said the combination of high winds and freshly cut grass bolstered the fire. He was thankful his son pushed him to inspect it further.

"He's quite astute. He loves his campfires so he was probably wondering if we had any marshmallows he could roast."  

But although there were no marshmallows, Hugo was rewarded for his efforts with a big icecream.

 - Stuff

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