Two rescued from burning house

SASHA BORISSENKO AND TRACY NEAL
Last updated 08:46 27/05/2014
fire on Sovereign street
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ

ON THE SCENE: Residents watch on as firefighters attend a house fire on Sovereign St in Nelson on Monday night.

fire on Sovereign street
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ
DAMAGE ASSESSMENT: Firefighters inspect the exterior and interior of the smoke and fire damaged house.

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A mother and her 16-year-old daughter were taken to Nelson Hospital suffering smoke inhalation after a house fire late yesterday in Sovereign St.

They inhaled toxic smoke from a burning mattress, the Nelson Fire Service said.

Police, ambulance and the fire service arrived at the property which is part of a Housing New Zealand complex at the end of Collingwood St, in the Wood at about 5.30pm yesterday.

Senior station officer Craig Davies said four fire trucks from Nelson and Stoke attended the house fire.

One person was rescued from inside the house and suffered smoke inhalation.

The family were lucky as smoke alarms went off relatively early, he said.

Senior station officer Steve Shackleton, said the two storey unit was in the middle of three state housing units. The fire appeared to have started in the bedroom.

He said a fire safety officer was due back at the property today to investigate further, and while the cause of the fire was apparent, any further comment was up to Housing New Zealand.

"The house had working smoke alarms which alerted the occupants to the fire in a front bedroom. The occupants did the right thing by shutting the door because the fire was causing highly toxic smoke," Shackleton said.

He said it was fortunate the ambulance was right behind the fire service, otherwise fire fighters would have had to administer the oxygen needed by one of the occupants.

St John Ambulance spokesman Kris Gagliari said two patients suffering smoke inhalation were taken to Nelson Hospital in a stable condition.

They were treated and discharged, a hospital spokeswoman said today.

Shackleton said there was minimal damage caused by the fire, which took about 15 minutes to put out, but the house was uninhabitable because of the significant amount of smoke.

He said the fire blackened the room in which it started and the second storey window blew open as a result of the heat.

"It was ready to go. Another two or three minutes and it would have been away," Shackleton said.

Neighbour Toni Herbert said she was alerted to the fire because one of the occupants ran to her house and screamed to get out.

A similar incident had occurred about a month previously, she said.

Herbert was thankful that the fire service arrived so quickly.

She was frightened that the fire might have spread to her property but thankfully there was a firewall.

Her house suffered no damage.

Lewis Stanton, a close friend of the home occupants, said he had organised accommodation in the instance the pair were discharged from Nelson hospital.

Stanton, better known as Hone Ma Heke, was with his horse and cart on the field next to Sovereign St when he saw smoke coming from his friend's house.

He had known the Motueka woman for over 21 years, he said.

He was there to help his friend and her daughter who was "visibly distraught", he said.

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- The Nelson Mail

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