Firefighter Troy Mahupuku was badly injured in a Lower Hutt
Lower Hutt firefighter Troy Mahupuku didn't think about
the agony he was in as he was being pulled from a burning
building, he only thought about his partner who was pregnant
with a baby girl.
"I was determined that I couldn't die with my baby girl on
the way and my girl Jess on the outside," he said from his
hospital bed at Middlemore Hospital's Burns Unit.
He and his partner Jessica Paine were expecting their first
child in January and Mr Mahupuku said it was thoughts of them
that kept him going in the fire.
"I think my first words when I was dragged out of the
building were that 'I'm out, I got out for my girls'.
"I had a real feeling of relief. There had been a lot of
pain, it was agonising, but I couldn't think about that, I
had to concentrate and think and plan to get out alive."
The 26-year-old from the Avalon station was one of 50
firefighters called to battle the blaze, which broke out at
the Racetech car seat manufacturing building in Petone just
after 3pm on August 23.
Mr Mahupuku, who was dragged from the blaze by other
firefighters, suffered serious burns to 33 per cent of his
body, mainly his arms and back.
He has since undergone two skin grafts for burns on his back
and three other surgical procedures since being flown to
He said he was "blown away" by all the messages of support
and assistance he was getting from people around the country.
"Everyone has been amazing. I have been getting a lot of
support. Cards and messages have come from the public who
heard what had happened," he said.
"There have been lots of messages from firefighters from
around the country and lots of visitors."
Colleagues have rallied around their injured mate, with
firefighters from around the country visiting him.
Mr Mahupuku said he was now able to get out of bed and was
taking steps forward in his recovery.
"I was in quite a bit of pain at the start, but it's minimal
now and I am on good pain management."
Fire Service region manager, Assistant National Commander Ian
Pickard said the service was doing everything it could for Mr
Mahupuku and his family and wished him a speedy recovery.
Meanwhile, a full operational review of the incident was
underway and was expected to be completed within a few
The probable cause of the fire had been identified as an
exothermic reaction between the chemicals being used in the
process to manufacture racing car seats.
- Rebecca Quilliam of APNZ