A man hung out the bedroom window of his first storey flat on
Ulster St in Hamilton crying for help as an electrical fire
threatened to engulf his home.
The man, known by neighbours as Ace and in his 30s, attempted
to climb out his bedroom window onto a drain pipe and had his
head hanging out the window gasping for air as neighbours ran
around trying to find a ladder to help him down. He had
smashed the window in an attempt to escape the fire.
Taljit Singh, who lives on the first storey of the apartment
block beside Ace, said he was woken at about 1.30am by
screaming. He said the man was yelling "Indian bro help me".
Mr Singh and his flatmate ran out his ranch slider to the
shared balcony and saw his neighbour's lounge engulfed in
flames so ran around the back where the man was hanging out
the window. He then started yelling for other neighbours to
help as they all desperately searched for something to assist
the trapped man.
Shanice Taniora, who lived in the flat below, called 111 said
the man was struggling to breathe as smoke bellowed from his
"He wanted to jump out," she said. "At first I think he was
trying to climb down because we were rushing around trying to
find something to help him down. There was no way he could
get out the front."
About 10 tenants gathered on the driveway of the block of
flats while two police officers went around to the back of
the building and coaxed the man into jumping into their arms.
Police acting senior sergeant Dale Smith said the officers
were the first to arrive at the scene and praised their
heroic efforts. "The two officers raced to the back of the
building and persuaded the man to jump and they caught him,
just as fire-fighters arrived."
The police offiers had been on night shift and were
unavailable this morning.
The fire service arrived shortly after and put out the fire
in the lounge to stop it spreading to the rest of the flat.
Yesterday morning blackened broken glass was scattered all
over the balcony and lounge and a burnt electrical plug was
the telltale sign of the cause of the fire, which had also
engulfed a table.
David Uren, who lives in a house in front of the block of
flats, said the man's scream could be heard for a long
He said the man had only moved in a month earlier and was an
The man had suffered from smoke inhalation but discharged
himself from Waikato Hospital early yesterday morning and
returned to the flat briefly to ask Mr Singh to watch his