Lightbulb saves family from fire

Family forced to flee as roof fire 'roars'

SALLY KIDSON
Last updated 12:49 21/06/2013
Richmond fire
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ

HOUSE IN RUINS: Paul Dennis and his son, Daniel, 10, outside their home in Welsh Place, Richmond, that was extensively damaged by fire last night.

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A pulsating, glowing light bulb alerted a Richmond father to a serious fire in the roof of his house.

Paul Dennis said he was watching television in the lounge of his Welsh Place house about 9pm last night when he smelt burning plastic.

As he was investigating the cause of the smell the lights went out.

Mr Dennis said he looked up at a light bulb on the ceiling and it was "pulsating and glowing".

He realised there was a fire in the house's roof. He checked in the attic in the garage and could see the fire was going strongly.

He told his family to get out and went around the back to try to put out the fire in the living room - as the couches and curtains were on fire. He was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Volunteer fire crews from Richmond and Stoke attended the fire.

A fire investigator was at the house this morning to determine what had started the fire. It is thought the cause was electrical.

This morning Mr Dennis was back at his badly damaged home with his son, Daniel.

Daniel was in the bath at the time of the fire and had to get out of the house in a hurry wearing only a fleece and a towel.

Mr Dennis said that he was unsure whether the house could be rebuilt. The roof and walls were badly damaged and the contents of their home had been ruined by water damage.

He was happy the family including his wife, Erin, and daughter Grace had escaped the fire, and was pleased it had happened at a time when they were still up.

Their two dogs, two cats, rat and frogs had also escaped uninjured.

The family has lived for 10 years in the house which is about 14 years old.

Mr Dennis said it was ironic that new guttering around the house was put up yesterday following the last flood.

"I said; ‘Don't scratch the guttering," Mr Dennis said.

He said the house had four smoke alarms, but they only went off when the fire was well ablaze. He said houses should have smoke alarms in the attic as well.

"That thing was roaring and I didn't even know there was a fire in the house."

Richmond fire chief Ralph Lonsdale said the fire in the roof had been tricky to fight and they had had to cut open the roof.

Richmond firefighters also went to a minor fire at a Best Island's home last night, which was caused by problems with the chimney.

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- The Nelson Mail

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