Husband helps wife escape house on fire in South Canterbury
An elderly man carried his wife over his shoulder to escape their South Canterbury home as it burned to the ground in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
It is still unclear what sparked the "well-involved" fire that left one person in Timaru Hospital with serious injuries, and one with moderate injuries, about 4.30am.
Southern Fire Communications shift manager Daryl Ball said crews were still working to extinguish the fire at the property, on Waipopo Rd, at 9am.
Ball said crews from Timaru, Washdyke, Temuka, Pleasant Point and Clandeboye, manning four tankers and four pumps, were called to assist.
The property is located at Peterson Park in the Waipopo Huts settlement, about 15 kilometres from Timaru.
Peterson Park president Helen Hobley said she was woken by her dog, Winston, about 4am but had originally thought it was the postie, so dozed back off to sleep.
"He didn't shut up. The phone rang and it was Allan next door and he said 'there's a fire'."
The man and the woman caught in the blaze were elderly, Hobley said.
As she alerted others in the area another neighbour called the fire service and ambulance.
The man had heard his wife call for help and rushed to her aid, Hobley said.
"He put her on his shoulder and managed to get her out. He had some scorching on his arm from getting past the car which was also up [In flames]."
Once the fire became well involved other residents became concerned for their own properties.
"Of course we were worried about our properties. One of the neighbours was hosing down his side of the house that was close to the fire. The heat was incredible.
"Fortunately the fire brigade then came. They were marvellous."
She said everyone in the community was ready to help the couple where they could.
The couple's house, like hers and most others in the park, was not her holiday home but her permanent residence.
Neighbour Kelly Cameron said she woke to a "loud banging noise" that sounded like fireworks.
"[I] thought it's pretty ridiculous if someone was setting Guy Fawkes off around here . . . I looked up out the window, opened the curtain looked out and there was just big bangs and seen the fire and just woke the house hold up," Cameron said.
About 15 minutes later she saw a man dragging a woman down the driveway to get her away from the smoke.
"There was a guy out here and I says to him "Is everyone out of the house" and he says "yeah I think so" and he yelled to the man – "have you got your wife?" and he says "yeah"," she said.
"They both had smoke inhalation. I think they were both pretty much in shock. The old lady was a bit confused and sore."
Fire and Emergency New Zealand fire investigator Murray Cairns said two people were taken to Timaru Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
It was unclear on Tuesday afternoon what had caused the fire.