Closed doors help to contain fire

Alexandra firefighter Stacey Waldron shows how closing a door can  trap  a house fire. Photo by...
Alexandra firefighter Stacey Waldron shows how closing a door can trap a house fire. Photo by Jono Edwards.
Closing a door while escaping a house fire helped a woman save most of her house and possessions by confining flames to her garage and laundry.

Alexandra chief fire officer Russell Anderson yesterday said the fire, in a Butchers Point Rd property near Alexandra on Tuesday night, started after a mechanical failure on a jet-boat in the garage caused an explosion.

The garage roof caught fire and the blaze quickly spread to the laundry.

The fire destroyed the jet-boat, a four-wheel-drive vehicle and a quad bike in the garage.

The owner, who declined to be named, closed every door in the house as she was escaping.

Alexandra deputy fire chief Mark Hutton said it was a bad situation, but it could have been much worse if the owner had not closed the doors.

''The garage and laundry were gutted, but the kitchen, lounge and bedrooms only suffered minor water damage''It served as a lesson in fire safety for others caught in the same situation, he said.

''If people can do so safely, they should close all the doors they can to contain a fire, as it can greatly reduce the damage.''

Of the three adults in the house at the time, one suffered minor burns. The occupants were otherwise unharmed.

Firefighters arrived soon after 8pm with four fire trucks, an Otago Rural Fire Authority water tanker and about 20 firefighters from the Alexandra, Clyde and Omakau brigades. Extra water was sourced from a nearby pond.

It took firefighters almost two hours to extinguish the flames, which was difficult because of strong winds, Mr Hutton said.

 by Jono Edwards

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