Passer-by saves residents from big garage blaze

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 21/08/2014

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A Christchurch bar manager who saved a family from potentially deadly house fire says he gave no second thought to tackling the blaze with a garden hose.

Holly Lee, 22, and her two daughters, aged four and three, were asleep in the lounge of their Hereford St flat when the garage below was set alight about 3.30am on Saturday.

"We had moved everything out of the house into the garage because we were moving out that morning," she said.

Vespa Bar duty manager Jaydn Isaacs was driving home from work when he noticed smoke coming out of the garage.

He stopped for a closer look and saw knee-high flames spreading through the room.

Isaacs called emergency services, then rushed up the stairs to rouse the people living in the four units above.

"A lady got up and I got her to continue waking up everyone else. I ran downstairs and got a garden hose," he said.

The flames filled the garage but he extinguished most of the blaze before firefighters arrived.

Isaacs said he did not stop to think before rushing out to help.

"I just wanted to get the people out. It looked like it was obviously going to be quite bad because there were flats above."

Lee and her daughters lost most of their possessions in the fire but had settled into a new rental and were being supported by their local preschool.

"The preschool had put a whole lot of stuff aside for us, food, clothes. They offered beds and sheets and blankets. It's just so nice," Lee said.

She was grateful to Isaacs.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet. My youngest is actually all right, but my oldest, I think she's been a little bit affected by it because she's been coming into my room in the middle of the night and she normally sleeps by herself," she said.

Detective Sergeant Chris Power said police were treating the fire as arson and were speaking to witnesses.

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