Three injured in yurt blaze

A local fire chief is calling on families to be more vigilant following a blaze that injured three people and completely destroyed a tent home in Hawea last week.

Lake Hawea chief fire officer Brent Arthur said emergency services were called to the blaze in a yurt in Nook Rd on Thursday at 12.26am.

He said a woman and her 7-year-old daughter had been asleep in the yurt when it ignited, possibly from an enclosed log burner.

He said the mother received third-degree burns to her legs, hands and parts of her body, her daughter received burns to her hands and legs, and her husband was also burned when he helped them to escape.

Mr Arthur said by the time fire crews from Lake Hawea and Luggate arrived at the scene, the yurt and surrounding trees were well alight and the occupants had left the scene and were awaiting treatment by St John.

The family moved to New Zealand about 10 years ago but had been resident in Hawea for only two to three months and had been self-isolating in the yurt.

Many people from various parts of New Zealand and the world, as well as the families that owned farms, were living in self-isolation in Hawea, Mr Arthur said.

"We are going to be spending a lot more time in these tents and homes than we ever have before and some of these places are not set up for long-term living, 24 hours a day."

People needed to be conscious of the extra loads on power points and plugs with children at home wanting to use their devices, wood burners should be cleaned and an escape plan needed to be drawn up in case of a fire, he said.

"We need to be more vigilant and switched on to our surroundings and how to make them safer", he said.

The family injured in the fire were taken to Dunstan Hospital for treatment.

The mother had been expected to be taken by rescue helicopter to Dunedin Hospital yesterday morning but the flight was delayed, Mr Arthur said.

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