Firewall helps contain blaze at flat

Firefighters at the scene of a fire in Heywood St, Invercargill.
Firefighters at the scene of a fire in Heywood St, Invercargill.

Unattended cooking is believed to be the cause of a fire that destroyed a flat and resulted in two people being treated for smoke inhalation and shock yesterday.

Invercargill fire senior station officer Neil Ladbrook said four fire appliances, police and a St John ambulance attended the blaze in Heywood St after being alerted to the fire about 10am.

Two people who occupied the group of three flats in the suburb of Waikiwi were treated for smoke inhalation, shock and bruising.

Mr Ladbrook said it appeared the fire began in the middle flat after stove-top cooking was left unattended. The fire became worse after the occupant, a woman in her 40s, tried to move the pot.

All three flats had smoke alarms installed, and a block firewall kept the fire from spreading extensively to the other flats.

Brendan Menlove, the tenant in the flat beside the burnt flat, was at home at the time and was alerted to the fire by a woman driving by who saw smoke coming through the roof.

Visibly shaken, he accepted cups of coffee and a blanket from neighbours who comforted him on the front lawn.

It was a frightening experience, he said.

Mr Ladbrook said fire safety officers would be speaking to the woman regarding safe cooking.

There would be no further investigations into the cause of the fire, he said.

Initially there was some confusion around the 111 call placed, which could have caused a delay if there had not already been an appliance in the area doing training, he said.

He reminded people to be clear about naming the closest intersection to a street, to avoid a delay.

The Southland Times