Andrew Eagle reckons he came within two minutes of losing his house to fire.
A fire, thought to have been started by a discarded cigarette butt, came within metres of Eagle's Prebbleton home yesterday afternoon as he tried to keep it at bay with hoses and a garden-watering system.
Fuelled by strong northeasterly winds, the fire engulfed 2000 roses in an old nursery at the front of Eagle's property and was soon lapping at his house.
Seeing smoke outside, he quickly moved into action, but soon realised he was fighting a losing battle.
"Another two minutes and I would have been . . ." his voice trailed off.
His mother, Dawn Eagle, who lives in a house further back on the property, was initially unaware of the blaze.
"My son rang me and said, ‘Mum, we're on fire, get out'," she said.
"It was huge. There were flames lapping up and smoke everywhere and people everywhere.
"You always think you're prepared, but when that happens you don't know what to do."
She took her dog and laptop, drove off the property and waited for the fire brigade.
"[The wait] seemed like several hours but it was just a few minutes," she said. "You could hear those sirens coming, and the sirens sounded wonderful."
Eight fire engines were called to the scene just before 1pm and the fire was under control in about 20 minutes.
Lincoln station officer Kyle Steans, who headed the first truck to arrive, said the smoke was so thick they could not see Andrew Eagle's house .
"It was all go there for a while. We're lucky we were able to stop it before the house."
He described the response as a "good save".
Neighbour Kasey Woodstock raised the alarm when she heard crackling outside the Eagles' property as she walked home.
"I looked up and all of a sudden I saw this little track of smoke. I bolted back here and rang the fire brigade," she said.
"I've never run so fast in my life."
She thought a burning cigarette butt thrown from a vehicle may have triggered the blaze, because it started in short grass near the roadside.
The fire was "puny" at that stage, she said.
It quickly grew, and by the time Woodstock had rung her partner, Sam Idoine-Dunn, at his nearby Fulton Hogan workplace in Main South Rd, it was out of control.
He raced to the scene with two colleagues and a company water tanker.
"We just started hosing stuff down," he said.
Neighbour Colin Theobald lent a hand with his garden hose before the blaze intensified.
"It took off really quick. It was a bit scary," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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