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Close call for family has fire alarm bells ringing

Aug 27th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Housefire

FIRE STARTER: Sharne Parker with the heater that started the fire. Photo: Samantha Guzzo

Late night cramming for exams saved Sharne Parker and his family from what firefighters say would have been certain death.

At 1.30am yesterday Sharne, 17, was studying at home in Berhampore when he noticed smoke billowing from under his brother’s bedroom door.

“I couldn’t see anything, it was so thick and my eyes were stinging from the smoke,” says the Wellington High School student.

“I remembered what I had been taught and crawled on the ground to alert the others, then phoned the fire service.

“I closed the doors, turned the electricity off and we waited outside for them to come,” he says.

Two appliances attended from Newtown and Wellington city stations.

While damage was minimal, if Sharne had not been awake the fire service believes the family would have died.

“There were no smoke alarms in the house and the occupants were very lucky to survive the fire,” senior station officer Mike Dombroski says.

“This is a reminder to keep all objects at least one metre from any heater and how vital it is to have smoke alarms installed to enable early warning and escape from fire,” officer Dombroski says.

“These were three lucky people, minutes from dying.”

According to its website, the New Zealand Fire Service last year attended more than 3700 house fires and in over 80% of cases smoke alarms were either not installed or not working.

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