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A family whose home was damaged by fire in Alexandra on Wednesday night has been overwhelmed by support from emergency services and the community, especially by the rescue of their pets.
Family member Stacey Cranston said the family managed to get their dog and three of her puppies out of the house before the fire took hold, but could not save the remaining three puppies.
She was indebted to the firefighters for rescuing the other three pups. Central Otago sub-area supervisor Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk said it was touching to see the family realise all the animals were safe.
"I was there when they brought them out and there was a younger child who was just overwhelmed by the fact the fire guys had managed to save them. It was a high point of a very distressing time for them."
Alexandra chief fire officer Russell Anderson said the first responsibility of fire crews was to protect people, but being able to save people’s pets was special. Saving the family’s pets in this instance was "some good news" amid the devastation they experienced.
Mrs Cranston said she had been overwhelmed by the support of emergency services and Victim Support.
Snr Sgt Kerrisk said the family had been provided with accommodation and food through Victim Support, and Alexandra businesses Tarbert St Four Square and The Warehouse had given other items.
Others also offered to help and more "small-town community" things had occurred. Alexandra New World was closed when the fire was extinguished, but manager Shane Ryan was a fireman and attended the fire. Neighbours of another fireman and a Victim Support volunteer had minded their children so they could attend the fire, and another policeman on duty that night was also a fireman.
"It’s something you would only get in a small community," Snr Sgt Kerrisk said.
Mr Anderson said there were no suspicious circumstances and the fire’s cause would be investigated.
Four appliances and 20 firefighters from Alexandra and Omakau attended the blaze.