Luck on side of fire-threatened Dunedin family

Ravensbourne man Kim Hayward checks the damage as firefighters dampen down a hedge fire on his property yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Ravensbourne man Kim Hayward checks the damage as firefighters dampen down a hedge fire on his property yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
A young Ravensbourne family are counting their lucky stars after firefighters stopped a hedge fire as it came within moments of setting their wooden villa alight.

Firefighters said the outcome could have been much worse at the Adderly Tce house.

A 7m-high, 5m-wide macrocarpa hedge running along one side of the 1000sq m property burst into flames about 10am yesterday.

Ravensbourne volunteer brigade's fire chief Ross Bryant said firefighters were still investigating the cause of the fire, but they believed it may have been started by hot ashes.

The ashes were in a tin can on the neighbour's property, but the lid was not on the can, and the breeze may have picked some up and blown them into the hedge, he said.

Five appliances, from as far away as St Kilda and Port Chalmers, were called to assist as the hedge was long and there were many fire fronts to tackle.

The fire damaged weatherboards on the house and broke windows along its side a few metres from the hedge.

It also badly damaged the garage and the back of a neighbour's shed.

"They were lucky in several ways really - that it was daylight and they saw it, that it was the weekend and so many volunteers were available and that it wasn't windier," Mr Bryant said.

He said the house had escaped a major fire once before, about 17 years ago, when the hedge on the other side of the property caught fire, causing similar damage to the other side of the house.

Property owner Kim Hayward said he was having breakfast with his four young children when they noticed the smoke.

"In less than a minute, the whole thing just exploded."

He got his family outside and away from the house.

By time he called 111, the brigade was already on the way.

The fire got so intense so quickly. It was incredible, he said.

 

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