Neighbour saves woman from house fire

A vigilant neighbour was treated for smoke inhalation after coaxing a terminally ill woman from a burning Christchurch cottage as he fought to extinguish a kitchen fire with a garden hose.

Dean Harrison.
Dean Harrison.
Dean Harrison needed oxygen after convincing Doreen Haines to abandon a search for her handbag in a Sefton St Belfast property as flames took hold about 12.20pm yesterday.

“I got inside with the hose and she followed me back in so I grabbed her and walked her out.

“It was a bit hairy there for a minute. If she’s stayed in there any longer she’d have been over come by the smoke.”

Harrison had been working in his backyard across the street when he noticed smoke billowing.

“I thought it was a drum fire then I came out the front and realised it was a bit more serious and I ran across the road. The lady was by the back door and asked me to go in.”

Johnny Brewer (pictured) praised Dean Harrison for guiding Brewer’s terminally ill mother-in-law...
Johnny Brewer (pictured) praised Dean Harrison for guiding Brewer’s terminally ill mother-in-law from the burning house. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Doreen, 72, was also taken to Christchurch Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Her son-in-law praised Harrison’s actions as fire investigators scoured the charred kitchen.

“I owe him a beer, we do have some good neighbours here,” said Johnny Brewer.

“As far as we know the neighbours were putting up their Christmas tree and they noticed smoke coming from the front of the house.”

Fire Investigators inside the house. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Fire Investigators inside the house. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Harrison, who also ushered three dogs from the property, downplayed his exploits and the side-effects.

“I just needed some oxygen to clear my lungs out.”

Haines has lived with her daughter Cheryl and Brewer for about six months as she battles terminal cancer and emphysema.

Brewer, who has lived in the house for seven years, was philosophical.

Johnny Brewer inspects the damage. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Johnny Brewer inspects the damage. Photo: Geoff Sloan
“We’ll find some accommodation and then argue with insurance. It’s a bugger, but we’re insured and no one got hurt.”

Meanwhile yesterday, emergency services were called to another fire in a garage on Appleby Cres, Burnside, at 2.40pm.

The fire was being treated as suspicious.

- Chris Barclay

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