Alert neighbour helps prevent house blaze

19:53, May 09 2012

Te Anau man Dwight Grieve reckons he owes his neighbour – and the local fire brigade – one.

The quick thinking of neighbour Mark Deaker, who spotted smoke coming from Mr Grieve's empty house yesterday, might have been the difference between a burnt pot and a damaged house, Mr Grieve said.

Emergency services were called to the Te Anau home about 10.30am yesterday after a pot left unattended on the stove began to fill the house with smoke.

"I don't think the house would have burned down but it just might have saved a lot of damage," Mr Grieve said.

"Mark did a brilliant job, it was a good catch to actually see the smoke and to stop and take a bit of care. It would have been so easy for someone to have not noticed it at all.

"I definitely owe Mark one, and the local fire guys," he said.

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Mr Grieve was out running and was 45 minutes away from his vehicle, in an area with no cellphone coverage, when he realised he had left the stove on.

He rushed home to find the fire crew had taken care of things.

Te Anau chief fire officer Graeme Humphries said firefighters had to break a window latch to get into the house.

"It was full of smoke. It wasn't thick, but it was enough to be a nuisance."

There was no damage to the house and no flames visible when the fire crew arrived, Mr Humphries said.

It was excellent that Mr Deaker had called emergency services when he did, said.

Mr Deaker said yesterday calling firefighters "wasn't a big deal".

"I could just see a bit of smoke coming from the house, and I suppose you've just got to do something, haven't you," he said.

The Southland Times