Flatmate lucky to escape burning house with dog

Doozer the dog panted oblivious to his near-death experience as Taylor Smith recounted saving his flatmate’s beloved pet from a house fire in Christchurch on Monday night.

The spray painter, along with homeowner Darcy Lutton and the terrier returned to the partially destroyed property on Blankney St in Hornby yesterday to continue the clean-up operation following the blaze.

Smith was relaxing on the lounge couch with the air conditioning on when a neighbour raised the alarm about 6pm.

Darcy Lutton, Doozer and Taylor Smith. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Darcy Lutton, Doozer and Taylor Smith. Photo: Geoff Sloan
"I heard a knock on the door but couldn’t see anyone," said Smith who had stripped down to a pair of boxers after biking home from work.

"So I opened the lounge door and the hallway was full of smoke.

"I opened the bedroom door and my bed was on fire."

Smith retreated to the lounge, grabbed Doozer by the collar and fled through the front door as the intense heat blew out windows.

"I left my phone inside and the most painful part was not being able to ring Darcy to tell him the house was on fire.

"I felt helpless because I couldn’t do anything.

"I sat out on the road in my undies and watched the house burn down.

"I was a bit dumbfounded about what actually happened."

The aftermath of the fire inside the house on Blankney St in Hornby. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The aftermath of the fire inside the house on Blankney St in Hornby. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Fire and Emergency New Zealand investigators told Lutton a laptop charger was the likely cause.

"I don’t know how they’ve managed to narrow it down to that, but the charger was plugged in and has obviously ignited or done something that’s started the fire in his room,” Lutton said.

Smith retrieved his mobile but lost most of his possessions, including clothing, his birth certificate and other identification documents, a wallet, and about $5000 in car parts for his Nissan Silvia.

Fortunately someone gave him a shirt as firefighters extinguished the blaze.

A mate then provided a bag of clothing.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand investigators told Lutton a laptop charger was the likely cause....
Fire and Emergency New Zealand investigators told Lutton a laptop charger was the likely cause. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Lutton, part owner of the nearby Bairds Collision Centre, was alerted to the blaze by a neighbour and appreciated the efforts of emergency services, his insurance company and the local community who rallied.

"The fire brigade were wicked and massive," Lutton said.

"Massive thanks to the neighbours and family and friends who obviously all pulled together.

"A couple of dudes down the road, I don’t even know, they came down with a big pile of fish and chips for me, my family and friends that were helping me out."

Darcy Lutton checks out the damage. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Darcy Lutton checks out the damage. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Lutton was philosophical once he had witnessed the devastation.

"The old house ain’t looking too sharp anymore but I managed to go in and save a picture of the old boy (dad)," Lutton said.

"I grabbed that, the beers I had in the fridge, and just sat outside and watched the house simmer away."

The fire-damaged house. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The fire-damaged house. Photo: Geoff Sloan

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