Stoke house destroyed by fire
A 73-year-old man suffered burns as he escaped a fire that destroyed his Stoke house.
Police, ambulance and fire services arrived at the Main Rd Stoke at about 4.30pm yesterday to find bystanders assisting the man.
Sergeant Blair Hall said the man was in the house when the fire broke out but managed to escape to the backyard.
Bystanders helped him get to the front of the property.
He suffered burns to his face and was taken to Nelson Hospital.
The cause of the fire was still to be determined and fire investigators will investigate today.
Main Rd Stoke was cordoned off from about 4.30pm.
Station officer Darren Shackleton said four trucks arrived at the scene from Nelson, Stoke and Richmond.
Stoke fire services were first to the scene and completed the main extinguishing, he said.
They did a brilliant job, he said.
All crew had to wear breathing apparatus in the event they found further people inside the property.
Max Fraine, who lived down the street, said he was driving past when he saw one of his neighbours carrying an old man out the window.
There was a big cloud of smoke, he said.
"I was a bit shocked; I have never seen a fire like that before."
He was worried there were other people inside the house at the time and was very thankful the man was alright.
Emma Sheppard, who lived directly opposite the burning house, said she was in her kitchen preparing an after-school snack when she noticed a big puff of smoke covering the sky.
The 10-year-old said she saw a man stumble out of the property.
The man, who could be described as keeping to himself and quiet, looked like he had burns on his arms and shoulders, she said.
"He does not come out of his house much. We live on a really friendly, social street and I have never really known him."