Firefighter Kristal Johnston inspects the damage.
Firefighter Kristal Johnston inspects the damage.

Firies pull man from burning house

By ZOE SINCLAIRzoe@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org

A SUN Valley resident was asleep in bed early yesterday morning, completely unaware of the fire engulfing his kitchen and growing in strength.

As the smoke sucked up the air, the resident slept on with no smoke alarms to alert him.

Fortunately, neighbour Jean Kenny was wide awake at 3.15am and raised the alarm.

Only a few minutes later, Gladstone firies were pulling the man from his bed.

Mrs Kenny said she first noticed the smell of smoke.

Looking over her balcony she saw flames shoot up from the house and immediately her thoughts were of the neighbour.

Fearing he could have been home and in danger, she rang Gladstone Fire and Rescue.

"I was worried that there could have been someone there,'' Mrs Kenny said.

"I wanted to go down and help.''

Mrs Kenny watched from her balcony.

Running through her head was the memory of her daughter's kitchen fire which caused only smoke damage.

"I was just hoping more flames wouldn't come up,'' Mrs Kenny said.

"I heard them trying to wake him up, crashing down the door. "He's a very lucky man. They say smoke is a silent killer.''

Firefighters Rodney Dahtler and Gavin Thomas were first into the house, pushing through the smoke to the kitchen, where the fire started.

Thinking of people asleep inside, they dampened the fire so they could search the rooms.

Working in twos, Rodney said they entered the resident's bedroom to find him still fast asleep.

"We had to wake him up,'' Rodney said.

"He was dead to the world.

"He was dazed, coughing from the smoke.''

The pair pulled him out of the house and he was able to tell them nobody else was in the house.

"He was very, very lucky,'' Rodney said.

When they first arrived, Rodney said they feared the worst.

"The house was smoke logged and the windows were blackened,'' Rodney said.

"It gets so hot it gets to the point where it just goes BOOM.''

The fire started when something was left cooking on the stove but with no smoke alarms to wake the man, it was left to the neighbour.

"He would've been dead if it hadn't been for the neighbour,'' Rodney said.

About 80 per cent of the house was saved although the kitchen was badly damaged and some parts of the house sustained smoke damage.



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