Firefighters close at hand

A St Kilda fire appliance reached a South Dunedin house fire more swiftly than usual on Thursday, because firefighters were fitting a smoke alarm in a nearby street.

The female occupant of a flat in a Macandrew Rd building - the only person in the property at the time - made it out unharmed after the house fire.

Station Officer Phillip De Rooy said that when Fire and Emergency New Zealand was alerted to the fire at 6.27pm, the fire appliance was much closer than its usual home at the St Kilda Fire Station.

This was because firefighters had just finished fitting a smoke alarm to help a family in a property in a nearby street.

Four fire appliances were called to the fire.

Mr De Rooy said the swift actions of a Bayfield High School pupil had contributed to the rapid response-"he's certainly done the right thing".

Year 9 pupil Zikora Ma'asi (13) said he was cycling to the shop when he saw smoke coming from the affected building as he was going past, and used his mobile phone to call 111.

Mr De Rooy said the fire had begun on the exterior of the property, and was routinely referred to the police, but fire safety checks on Thursday evening and yesterday morning had failed to determine the exact cause.

The fire was not regarded as suspicious, he added.

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