Two students dive into pool to escape flaming flat

Eight flatmates lost all their possessions after fire ripped through their flat in Upper Riccarton, Christchurch, early ...
GIVEALITTLE

Eight flatmates lost all their possessions after fire ripped through their flat in Upper Riccarton, Christchurch, early Monday.

Two Christchurch students were forced to lunge from a two-storey balcony into a pool to escape flames licking at their heels.

Bob Trolove and Jimmy Whitmore, both 21, woke to blaring smoke alarms and billowing smoke as they scrambled out of bed and desperately searched for an exit from their Upper Riccarton flat about 3.15am on Monday.

The pair, who were the only people home in the Lochee Road student flat at the time, dived into the pool and escaped unharmed, but fellow tenant Jacob Bignell said everything the eight flatmates owned had been "well and truly barbecued".

Two men took a leap of faith into their pool as the flames encroached.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

Two men took a leap of faith into their pool as the flames encroached.

"The boys who were home the night of the fire had to ditch the house from the second-storey just to make it out alive, so nothing was salvaged," he said.

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"The flames were pretty hectic, but it's just stuff. It'll get replaced and no-one was hurt."

The Upper Riccarton house where two men had to jump from the balcony into the pool to escape a fire on Monday morning.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

The Upper Riccarton house where two men had to jump from the balcony into the pool to escape a fire on Monday morning.

Former Nelson College student Bignell said he was in Wellington when he found out the flat he had lived in for nearly two months was blackened and burnt. He returned south immediately and spent the afternoon trying to pick up the pieces.

Their landlord would return their bond to put towards their growing shopping list of things to replace, and the group had received countless offers of hot dinners and warm beds from friends.

Property managers had offered houses to the group, and a Givealittle page had been set up to further support them. 

The fire ripped through the home and consumed everything in its path, including clothes, laptops and university supplies.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

The fire ripped through the home and consumed everything in its path, including clothes, laptops and university supplies.

"We're turning to our friends, our families and the good people of this great nation to throw a few generous dollars our way to help us get back on our currently bare feet," the Givealittle page said.

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Fire investigator Darren Aitkin said the cause of the fire was yet to be determined, but it highlighted the importance of having working smoke alarms, insurance and an emergency plan.

"The smoke alarms certainly saved two lives here, but if an evacuation plan was in place they wouldn't have had to play it quite so red hot."

 - Stuff

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