'Extremely proud' of team effort to help burnt man

Hale T-Pole
Hale T-Pole
Former Highlanders loose forward Hale T-Pole is ''extremely proud'' of the more than 50 club rugby players who helped a badly burnt Port Chalmers man on Thursday.

Harbour Rugby Football Club premiers, seniors and colts players were training next door to the Albertson Ave house in Port Chalmers when a station wagon caught fire while a 22-year-old Port Chalmers man was changing a fuel pump.

Mr T-Pole said he heard loud screams and started running towards the ''big fire'' in the back yard of the neighbouring property.

The man had burns to his arm and superficial burns to his face and leg and was in extreme pain.

''I was in the shower with the burning kid and the sister.''

He put a chair in the shower for the man to sit on and the ''shaking'' sister held her brother in the shower.

''The kid was burning and sat down while we showered his face to keep him cool and calm him down.''

The man was screaming, he said.

Mr T-Pole said he went outside and more than 50 rugby players were in the backyard.

Players were jumping over fences to get hoses from neighbours and other players were taking containers of flammable liquids away from the blaze.

A teenage colts player consoled the man's distressed mother, he said.

''It makes me proud of the club. No-one there was in charge and yelling; everyone just reacted.

''It was awesome to see.''

When the players retrieved enough hoses to reach from the tap to the station wagon, there was no way to connect the hoses so the team created a chain and held the hoses together tightly.

The quick reaction to douse the flames ensured the fire did not spread, he said.

Port Chalmers Station Officer Glenn Holland said the Port Chalmers man was changing a fuel pump on his Ford Falcon station wagon when it caught fire about 6.20pm.

A St John spokesman said the 22-year-old man was taken to Dunedin Hospital with serious burns to his arm and superficial burns to his face and leg.

A Dunedin Hospital spokeswoman said the man was in Dunedin Hospital yesterday and his condition was not serious.

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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