David Jacobs had been away from his Arrowtown home only about 20 minutes when he returned to find three fire crews dousing it in water.
The taxidermist, who moved to Queenstown four years ago following the Canterbury earthquakes, says his first concern last night was his new black Labrador puppy.
He’d left the puppy at home while he went to see friends on holiday from the North Island.
“When I got home I almost crashed the car.
“That was my first worry … she’s all right; she’s a bit frantic.”
Crews from Arrowtown, Frankton and Queenstown were called to the Arrow Junction Rd property about 6.15pm, after one of Jacobs’ tenants in an adjoining flat smelled smoke.
“She turned on the telly for the six o’clock news and she could smell something,” Jacobs says.
“They think it might have been the computer, or something in the office, anyway, but … I was only out for, like, 20 minutes and ‘woof’.”
Jacobs, who is insured, says he’s grateful a track had just been cut to a water tank behind the property – and that his smoke alarms worked.
There was likely to be extensive smoke and water damage to his house. Jacobs planned on staying last night with his friends at a bed and breakfast. Last night, he was trying to look on the bright side.
“It’s still standing. [With] earthquakes they don’t usually stand after an earthquake, so that’s a good, positive thing.”
Arrowtown Volunteer Fire Brigade Station Officer Nathan Clark says by the time crews arrived, smoke was coming out from under the eaves and a crew wearing breathing apparatus was sent in.
Fire safety investigators will try and determine the cause today.
Otago Daily Times